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File 164261192729.png - (236.87KB , 1000x1000 , p0.png )
1020717 No. 1020717 ID: eedbeb

A Clothing Damage (NSFW) quest set in the universe of https://questden.org/wiki/Clothing_Repair
Nudity and sexual themes, but no outright sex.

Artist and Writer: https://questden.org/wiki/Tippler
Setting Creator: https://questden.org/wiki/Donut

Elaine has a job to do!
Expand all images
No. 1020718 ID: eedbeb
File 164261194498.png - (243.43KB , 1000x1000 , p1.png )

After a morning of excitement with Saiorse, that generous and kind tailor, Elaine finishes collecting donations for Busalla’s Way of the Wayfinders monastery and has a simple lunch of fresh broccoli and boiled potatoes. At the large table the monks use for their communal meals, she learns about a recent request to protect a private delivery from Busalla to Tavarone, two days’ travel by foot. Elaine quickly volunteers for the journey, which is due to depart in several hours, then finds her way to the tavern right after the lunch rush and befriends a few parties of adventurers to pass the time.

The elderly monk who told her about the job seemed to imply it was a bit hush hush. Apparently she’s supposed to wait around the southern street right off the town square until they find her.

Elaine slips out of the noisy tavern and onto the mostly empty midafternoon street. She waits, and waits, and waits … for nothing. She glances around nervously. Perhaps it’s time to take drastic measures?

She takes a deep breath, steels herself for how ridiculous she’ll look, and stands on tip-hoof and cranes her neck for a glimpse of her patrons. At this point, if they can’t see her, that’s their fault.

All Elaine sees are a pair of Censors talking to a tastefully shorn sheep. There seems to be a bit of a disagreement about the sheep’s choice of clothing, or lack thereof.
No. 1020719 ID: eedbeb
File 164261196284.png - (260.40KB , 1000x1000 , p2.png )

Elaine sidles closer to catch what they’re saying. It’s not eavesdropping if it's a public street, she reminds herself.

“You can’t be serious! I have a permit!” the lamb huffs hotly. “A sheep can't walk around wearing their own wool without getting fleeced these days!"

“Sorry, those are the rules, different dioceses need different permits.” says the male Censor, who’s grinning in a way that implies that he’s not sorry at all.

Elaine notices he’s also getting an eyeful of the sheep’s chest, at least until the other Censor, a badger woman, bonks him on the back of the head.

“That’s the law.” the badger says briskly, ignoring her companion with an air of annoyance. “Either pay the fee or we’ll be forced to arrest you for public indecency.”

What should Elaine do?
A. Interject on behalf of the sheep
B. Keep listening and say nothing
C. Stop listening and wander the street
No. 1020724 ID: e51896

A. Lie and tell them the sheep is a monk living a vow of poverty just like you! And the best way to live that vow of poverty was decided by wearing her wool. Ask that they please respect your, and her religious vows

If they imply about the bell, tell them she must be punished by you on behalf of the monks for keeping something as valuable as a bell, and need to take her away immediatly *wink at sheep to signal to her your actually saving her*
No. 1020725 ID: 629f2e

A: We should defend her, she clearly isn't maliciously breaking any laws if she went out of her way to get a permit for her wool. Besides, how would she even get a permit for this district without entering as she is? Does she just have to bring an entire outfit for every district she enters that she has to wear until she can get a new permit? That's asking too much. You should try to talk the Censors down to a warning.

And if they're too unreasonable for that to work, at least distract them for long enough that the sheep can slip away.
No. 1020726 ID: 0ee72b

Interject by giving them an inspiring speech about how out of touch they have become, to take money from people when they should we helping them.
No. 1020728 ID: 9b127b

B) keep listening see how this progresses
No. 1020729 ID: 2be83f

Interject. If it’s good enough for one diocese it should be good enough for another. Unless you aren’t all holding yourselves to the same standard?
No. 1020733 ID: 094652

A) This seems easy enough to de-escalate.
Chide the Censor for demanding exemplary conduct while he counted the wool hairs on her upper torso. Then offer a compromise: she must pay the fee, but it goes directly into a microbudget of giving her a proper set of clothes - you made a friend with a tailor earlier today, and since you're oathbound from making purchases even to help them, she might as well buy something comfy at the shop. Unless the Censors wish to take the dishonorable path and forcefully sell her rags with a price tag that would make a noble squeak? Your parish would have words.
No. 1020737 ID: 6559ab

A: nicely step in and question why different dioceses need different permits. Shouldn't the same church have the same rules?

Why is Elaine bothering to step in? Well, she travels a lot, and this affects her!
No. 1020739 ID: afe7de

A. It's impossible to have to get a permit for every location especially if you're an adventurer. The Censors are likely actually trying to FLEECE her due to censorship quotas. You actually know a thing or two about these laws and probably know a loophole that you can just kind of dumbly be like *actually the permit stands in the city she came from and any visiting locations so long as her stay does not last longer than 3 days as is required by the clothing standards act of XXXX enacted by your holy church. Do you have proof that she has been in town longer than 3 days without updating her permit?
No. 1020769 ID: eedbeb
File 164264809450.png - (246.83KB , 1000x1000 , p3.png )


Elaine doesn’t like what she’s hearing. The poor sheep already paid for a decency permit! It shouldn’t matter that she’s in a different diocese, the rules ought to be the same across the Church. Elaine can sympathize; as a traveler herself, she imagines the impossibility of having to pay just for stepping hoof in a new town.

Elaine strides up to the group and clears her throat. She towers over the man, who looks up at her with surprise, light blush still on his cheeks. The badger does a double-take and turns to Elaine.

“Greetings, Wayfinder,” the badger says formally. “Give us a moment and we’ll be with you shortly.”

“I-I actually have something to say.” Elaine is intimidated, but keeps talking. “I couldn’t help but overhear your conversation, and … in my humble opinion this fine young lady deserves a warning at most. She didn’t know about the permit situation and she can certainly be more careful in the future.”
No. 1020770 ID: eedbeb
File 164264810732.png - (149.25KB , 1000x1000 , p4.png )

“Hrmm.” The badger grumbles. “Frankly, Wayfinder, the Church shouldn’t even allow permits. Soon everyone with an indulgent priest will be walking around in their knickers! I suppose there’s virtue in forgiveness, though.”

“Aw, come on, are we really letting her go?” the man fiddles with the wooden handle of a large paintbrush at his hip.

Elaine gets another idea and addresses the sheep. “There’s a new tailor just around the corner who can get you a quick outfit so you don’t have any more trouble, she’s very talented and kind.”

The sheep nods and hurries away before the Censors change their minds, bell jingling cheerfully in contrast to the strained mood.

Now it’s just Elaine and the Censors, who give her suspicious looks.

“Hello, I’m Elaine, an initiate.” she says nervously.

“Ginerva, and this is Niccolo.” the badger gestures to herself and the man. “I take it you’re not part of our laity, given your eagerness to let a sinner walk free. The Wayfinders I’ve met are normally quite understanding of the need for discipline.”

What should Elaine say about the Church?
A. Good things
B. Bad things (ballsy)
C. Neutral things
No. 1020771 ID: afe7de

C. Neutral things, you would have said good things but they're being a bit aggressive right now
No. 1020772 ID: c92a02

Good things. You're sure the church means well, sometimes we need others to help carry our loads!
I'm pretty sure those handprints are supposed to be instructions on where to place your hands. That's why they're outlined in red, right?
No. 1020774 ID: 629f2e

B/C: Give a light compliment with a strong backhand.

"I'm very familiar with the Church naturally. It's one of the most profitable businesses in the land."
No. 1020775 ID: 0ee72b

Why does your gown have touchy grabby hands. You are a hy- hyp- hypochondriac!
No. 1020778 ID: 96c896

I like this.
Also ask her if she seriously allows bureaucracy to determine the nature of sin.
No. 1020791 ID: e51896

C. "They're normally quite understanding of the need for forgiveness as well"
No. 1020793 ID: e6783f

Starts as C: neutral, but Elaine slips a bit and lets out some ballsy B: bad thing too.
No. 1020807 ID: 094652

"Discipline is essential to those that walk the righteous path. But forcing it on those that simply choose otherwise shows the opposite."
No. 1020810 ID: 9a2966

C) No, you're not from around here, but understanding goes both ways, no? If this was the second time you'd encountered the sheep and she had defied taking your kindly advice, you'd equally understand the need for a bit of discipline from an appropriate source.

( a/b) even if that whole thing with paying for permits in separate areas DOES seem like a bit of a scam, however it is justified by priests fair and foul)

Introduce yourself. Could these Censors be the people who are looking to hire you?
No. 1020820 ID: 755b54

B. They can't be nice if they're against the sheep!
No. 1020829 ID: eedbeb
File 164271982685.png - (222.16KB , 1000x1000 , p5.png )


Elaine takes a moment to get a better look at the Censors. Strange that Ginerva’s gown has those bright red hands on her chest, it’s almost impossible not to notice them. Maybe it’s intentional, a way to entrap innocent passersby and accuse them of perversion.

Elaine shivers at the dark thoughts crawling through her head. She always tries to be polite and courteous, but these Censors are rubbing her the wrong way between Niccolo’s stares and Ginerva’s harsh beliefs.

“My experience with the Church is limited, besides the laws that guide this land. Part of my journey in being a Wayfinder means believing in the freedom of the people to make their own decisions. I dislike that the Church seems to favor force.“ she says carefully.

Ginerva’s face darkens with displeasure as the words sink in. “Regrettable. It seems the new generation lacks the conviction to attain purity.”
No. 1020830 ID: eedbeb
File 164271983587.png - (264.27KB , 1000x1000 , p6.png )

Without waiting for a reply, the badger stalks away to a distant covered cart and fusses with the gray donkey grazing on a small patch of grass.

To Elaine’s surprise, Niccolo snickers and elbows her lightly in the side, like she just told a joke. “I like you, Elaine. This trip is going to be a riot.”


“Yeah, why do you think you’re here? We wanted some extra protection for the journey, what with the bandits and monster attacks that have been happening. If you and Ginerva keep bickering it’s free entertainment for me.”

Elaine allows herself to be led toward the cart, frozen in horror. She’s upset her clients already and they haven’t even started the journey!

The front of the small wooden cart is packed with rations and other supplies, while a cloth tarp tightly covers a vaguely lumpy object in the back. It looks like everyone will be walking.

Niccolo is now friendly to Elaine and will freely answer questions about his life and experiences.

Ginerva is hostile to Elaine, and will be suspicious of her actions.

Elaine has two updates’ worth of time before the party will camp for the evening. What should she do first?

A. Talk to Niccolo (suggest questions)
B. Talk and/or Apologize to Ginerva
C. Observe the surrounding country in peaceful silence
No. 1020831 ID: 629f2e

Talk to Niccolo, and definitely don't apologize. You were asked your opinion and you provided it honestly while packaging it politely so as not to offend. Ginerva's just a grumpy butthead who can't handle views that differ from her own. Let her stew for a bit and you can try talking to her later.

Ask about the delivery you'll be making. What are you transporting? Are we only worried about monsters/beasts, or are we at any risk of being robbed (either due to the value of our goods, or the path we'll be taking)?

And then maybe ask about Niccolo himself. Phrase it nicely, you don't want both of them to dislike you, but maybe bring up how rare it is to see a Censor showcase such blatant lust. What brought him to the church?
No. 1020833 ID: c92a02

Observe the badger's bosom in awkward silence.
No. 1020835 ID: 236ff4

A: Talk to Niccolo and lesrn more about why someone so interested in sheep cleavage would join up with people who ban sheep cleavage.
No. 1020840 ID: 8483cf

A. Ask Niccolo about what it's like being a member of the Church of Censorship. Why does he have that brush?
No. 1020852 ID: 1d427c

A and C at the same time, ask him about the bosom
No. 1020853 ID: e51896

From Niccolo's reaction, I have a feeling we shouldn't worry to much about Ginerva

Ask him about what they considered as inappropriate as far as clothing goes? what body parts should be covered, and what has free reign... but then get nervous and say "n...not that I'm trying to get away with wearing as little as possible without getting in trouble or anything"
No. 1020908 ID: eedbeb
File 164281344424.png - (254.91KB , 1000x1000 , p7.png )

>A, with a little C

Ginerva harnesses the donkey and pats the animal firmly forward. Niccolo drags Elaine up in front so they’re not breathing the dust from the cart while they walk. It’s a pleasant summer day, Busalla is close enough to the sea to keep the weather mild and Elaine trots along, admiring the lush countryside.

“Can you tell me more about yourself? Why did you join the Church? What’s it like?” Elaine asks Niccolo.

Niccolo glances backwards to make sure he’s out of earshot of Ginerva before taking a sly, conspiratorial tone. “My parents, carpenters, forced me to join after I was caught one too many times slacking on my college studies.” The man mimes a lewd gesture. “Thought the Church would keep me in line, I don’t think anyone expected me to become a Deacon, not even me, celibacy wasn’t my style.”

They pass fields of grain and vineyards, the road growing narrower as they get further from the town.
No. 1020909 ID: eedbeb
File 164281345463.png - (238.88KB , 1000x1000 , p8.png )

“Okay.” Elaine says carefully. She doesn’t want to offend Niccolo, though the man seems fairly laissez-faire. “How did that happen, then?”

Niccolo pulls the odd paint brush from his hip and twirls it around expertly. The end of the broad white bristles are covered with some dark black substance.

“Had to get my hands on one of these. The Goddess doesn’t just do armor spells, she also blesses the Church with tools to help us enforce her will. Since Deacons are more responsible for enforcement than the higher ups we’re more likely to get a brush.” he explains.

He paints a quick stroke around his neck and pulls a long stroke at arms length. Elaine gasps when Niccolo pulls, tightening the black substance around his throat.

“You don’t need to stick your dick in anything to have fun.” he wheezes, blush burning on his cheeks.

How does Elaine feel about Niccolo’s display? What should she do with her next action?

A. Keep talking to Niccolo
B. Examine the cart
C. Watch the countryside for any strange activity
No. 1020912 ID: 8a51ec

C. Also, make a mental note to stay out of arm's reach of Niccolo at all times.
No. 1020913 ID: c92a02

Scan the countryside!
No. 1020915 ID: 96c896

This dude is a heretic. Secretly plan to expose him.

It's one thing to dislike the Church's greed and excessive zeal, it's another to ignore blatant hypocrisy. Also he's a deacon so if he wanted to implement reforms he'd have done so. Instead he's presumably playing along with the hardline clergy in order to escape suspicion and continue to use a holy tool as a sex toy.

For now, C. Do your job, avoid speaking to either of them.
No. 1020917 ID: a2493c

bit presumptuous honestly, we've known him maybe a day and don't know what he's done for himself to get where he is. Let's... not do that.

C, but do A kinda idly since we don't wanna alienate him.
No. 1020921 ID: 629f2e

Wow. He goes to the exact opposite extreme of Ginerva. Ginerva may be stuck in her ways, but at least she seemingly believes in what she preaches. This guy is just a freak who doesn't even believe what he pretends to.

Then again, you did just meet this guy. Maybe you're judging a bit quickly. As gross as he is, he did say that he wasn't sticking his dick in anything. It sounds like he's abiding by the church's rules, and has just found alternative ways to vent his horny energy. You might not appreciate the demonstration (though maybe if he tied it around Ginerva's bountiful bossom...), but what he's doing isn't forbidden by the church it seems.

So while your initial response may be displeasure, we should afford Niccolo a chance to form a more positive impression later.

...You really don't want to stare at him like this now though. Hey, how's Ginerva and the cart looking? (B)
No. 1020923 ID: 66e0c5

Wow lewd

Let's be PRO FE SHUN AL and C: be on alert for people who might be after the cart. We must push cart!
No. 1020925 ID: 8483cf

Protecc church
Protecc cart
Even if Niccolo
Is a huge fart
No. 1020993 ID: eedbeb
File 164289062733.png - (211.31KB , 1000x1000 , p9.png )

Ah. This guy is a massive freak.

Elaine arranges her face in the approximation of gentle concern. She doesn’t want to alienate Niccolo by judging his tastes, but the rank hypocrisy and powerlust rub her the wrong way. Niccolo notices her expression and taps the ink rope with the brush handle to dispel the magic.

“Did I scare you already?” he asks, tone flat.

“What? No!” Elaine gestures toward the forest that’s rising around them. “Uh, I need to look around, there could be wild animals or monsters here that pose a threat to the mission.”

She can feel Niccolo’s eyes on her back as she hurries forward, long legs taking her ahead on the road until the Censors are out of sight.

They still have a few hours of sunlight left, but the woods make everything dimmer. Elaine crouches to examine a few boar tracks by a narrow stream, notes the fungi growing on the fallen trees, and is ready to return to the cart when something darts in front of her.
No. 1020994 ID: eedbeb
File 164289063745.png - (247.24KB , 1000x1000 , p10.png )

At first she mistakes it for a walking bush, two stubby, booted legs churning furiously. Elaine bounds forward and quickly overtakes the creature.

A bushy, formerly white beard camouflaged with mud and patterned with leaves. Beady black eyes and a similarly dyed cone shaped hat. A gnome!

Before Elaine can grab the strange little man, he dives into a hole under a tangle of tree roots and disappears.

She finds her way back to Ginerva and reports her findings. The badger grunts in acknowledgement but ignores Elaine’s questions about the cart.
No. 1020995 ID: eedbeb
File 164289064431.png - (340.55KB , 1000x1000 , p11.png )

They stop at a clearing that looks like it's been used before. There’s a stone lined fire pit full of cold ashes and flat ground to spread bedding and sleep. Ginerva pulls an ax from the packs and tosses it to Niccolo, who sets about gathering firewood.

Elaine stays on guard duty while the Censors make camp. It’s almost sunset when she spots three figures coming on the road. They look familiar. Elaine racks her memory of the adventurers in the tavern earlier.

That’s right, there was a party of a human, half-elf, and kobold. What a coincidence that they’ve come the same way.

What should Elaine tell the adventurers?
A. Camp somewhere else, this spot is taken
B. Camp here! Security in numbers
C. Gossip about the Censors
No. 1020996 ID: c92a02

B. Welcome, friends!
No. 1020998 ID: e3d898

C. Imagine the controversy if people heard that the censors started hiring pervs like Niccolo.
No. 1020999 ID: 1af9af

A) Let's advice them away from this spot. For their own good, probably.
No. 1021003 ID: 8483cf

B. This is gnome country, you'd best be alert for gnomeland security forces
No. 1021007 ID: 629f2e

C and B/A

Let them know upfront what they're getting into if they camp here, but also tell them that they're welcome to stay if they'd like. Maybe make it clear that you'd REALLY like some decent company after putting up with these two all day.
No. 1021033 ID: 34dfce

This, if for no other reason than because of the pun. I want a run-in with the DGS later.
No. 1021100 ID: eedbeb
File 164297423036.png - (289.39KB , 1000x1000 , p12.png )

“Hi? Ah- hello!” Elaine waves at the adventurers, who wave back in recognition. “Were you travelers about to camp? There’s a good spot here, my clients already have a fire going- it’s very comfortable!”

“Really? That’d be great, we got a late start today.” Celyn replies.

“Because the chew toy had to visit the tailor.” Triple G rumbles. Celyn blushes and plucks at his sleeve self-consciously.

“You saw Saoirse too?” Elaine asks in surprise.

“Yeah! She’s so cool, helped me get some better protection since wild animals are always going after my berries.”

“Well, there are wild boar here, and gnomes. If we stick together for the night I think it’ll be safer.” Elaine adds.

The half-elf, Cierce, nods with agreement and the party follows Elaine off the road.

“Whoa whoa whoa, hold on.” Niccolo jumps to his feet from where he was lounging on a log and produces a measuring tape from his pocket. “Line up adventurers, official Church inspection needed before you can stay here.”
No. 1021101 ID: eedbeb
File 164297424503.png - (274.61KB , 1000x1000 , p13.png )

Elaine winces as the Censors examine the adventurers with much hemming and judgemental hawing. She hadn’t gotten a chance to warn Celyn about her clients and the poor kobold looks terrified, especially when Niccolo starts asking him invasive questions about his new cloth armor.

Ginerva gives Cierce a bit of a hard time about the dangers of pre-marital sex, but the adventurers are fully clothed, so eventually the Censors get bored and return to the campfire to mutter to each other and prod the logs. The donkey grazes at the edge of the clearing.

Night falls and Elaine enjoys a serving of hearty, nut-fille porridge from the bubbling pot. The adventurers set up a tent and whisper to themselves nervously.

What does Elaine do before nightfall? She can talk to any of the people present or prepare for a gnome attack.
No. 1021102 ID: 629f2e

Fuck it let's give Ginerva another shot. Why not ask her about what she does in her free time, when she isn't spreading her Goddess' word or enforcing her will. Maybe she has some hobbies or interests we can bond over?

Probably not, but it's worth trying at least. Who knows, maybe Ginerva actually has a very rich and interesting life outside of her religious duties. You shouldn't judge a book by their cover.
No. 1021103 ID: e51896

Agreed with this.

But maybe also, have a debate with her concerning restrictions on what is allowed and amount for people to wear for clothing. It might feel like a heated argument at first, but as it goes on, maybe theres a chance you and her find some fun in these debates and start slightly forming some respect a tiny bit.
No. 1021104 ID: 8483cf

Yeah let's talk to Ginerva and see what her hobbies are. She's the least agreeable, but understands forgiveness at least. Maybe she's forgiven us for questioning her teachings?
No. 1021105 ID: c92a02

Hang out with the other adventurers. you need a break from the church weirdos.
No. 1021107 ID: ce39da

Regardless of who we talk to, we should warn everyone about the camo-gnome you spotted. Whoever's taking watch should be on high alert.

That said, we could try engaging Ginerva in conversation.
No. 1021213 ID: eedbeb
File 164307500844.png - (254.45KB , 1000x1000 , p14.png )

“I’ll take first watch,” Triple G announces. Everyone chimes in for a slot, with Elaine getting the unenviable position of second to last. The adventurers have a lantern they’re willing to share, so at least she doesn’t have to worry about gathering wood.

Now that dinner’s over, Niccolo sits on his bedding and reads by the firelight while Ginerva fusses with the cart. Elaine approaches Ginerva cautiously, treating the badger like a skittish beast. The emotions from earlier have eased and Elaine feels like she has a better chance of redeeming herself in the nun’s eyes. She’ll keep her mouth shut about the Church, that’s for sure.

“Good evening, are you planning to sleep soon? Or perhaps relax after the day’s travels?” Elaine asks politely. “I’m happy to stay close to the cart if it makes you feel more comfortable.”

Ginerva doesn’t even turn to look at her. “I have my night prayers and some knitting. You may sleep now, if you wish.”
No. 1021214 ID: eedbeb
File 164307501405.png - (110.85KB , 1000x1000 , p15.png )

“I’ve heard nuns also take vows of poverty.” Elaine continues, struggling to find something she has in common with the badger.

“That’s true. I found it difficult, but enlightening when I held that station.”

Elaine tips her head to the side in confusion. “You’re not a nun anymore?”

A sharp tooth pokes itself out of Ginerva’s lip as she grins. “I’m Busalla’s bishop. They wouldn’t give this job to some ordinary priest, though I’m glad to have Niccolo for support despite his faults.”

Elaine blinks rapidly as she realizes she criticized the Church to the highest ranking clergy in the area. “Oh, ah, congratulations on the position. You must not have much time outside of your duties, then.”

Ginerva shrugs. “That’s why I enjoy these small moments away from my office. Sleep well tonight, Elaine, and may the Goddess watch over you.”

Niccolo and Ginerva both feel neutral towards Elaine.

What does Elaine dream about? Can be lewd or not lewd.
No. 1021216 ID: 629f2e

In the proximity of Censors like these, lewd dreams are bound to happen.

Elaine dreams of getting handsy with badger boobs due to the hands on Ginerva's robe planting the idea. Next chance she gets, Elaine should really ask about why they're present to get these ideas out of her head.

That or she has a nightmare of being bound by the Censor paintbrush that Niccolo showed up, with the scariest part being her inability to deny that the dream was at least kind of hot.
No. 1021219 ID: c92a02

A nightmare about giant cloth-eating moth-orcs (aka morcs) attacking the party. Oh nooo, her brand new corset!, etc. etc.
No. 1021220 ID: afe7de

What if she dreamt about just being a cow living on a farm, it's not lewd or anything, but it's definitely uncanny
No. 1021221 ID: 8a51ec

Those boob-hands on Ginerva's robe can't possibly not be stuck in Elaine's subconscious, and the subconscious tends to manifest in one's dreams, sooooo...
No. 1021223 ID: 8483cf

Seconding a vote for nightmare(?) about Niccolo's paintbrush bindings. How many shades of gray can it paint?
No. 1021225 ID: 84374e

Those prominent 'handprints' and that toothy grin from Ginerva certainly won't awaken any suggestive religious and worship based thoughts/dreams, right? R-right?
Kinda wonder what's under those robes... like her tail! It must be so soft, that's why she hides it.

Niccolo and Celyn would be welcome too, seeing as they're both pretty cute.
No. 1021226 ID: 4f82ed

You have one of those "only one naked" dreams... except you're the only one clothed while everyone else is naked and their giving you weird looks. The censors (also naked) threaten to punish you.
No. 1021298 ID: eedbeb
File 164315176513.png - (245.80KB , 1000x1000 , p16.png )

Despite the hard earth beneath her body, Elaine falls asleep quickly. She’s used to long hours of travel, but this was an especially tiring day.

Her dreams are strange, as every dream should be. At first she’s running from a giant moth that’s threatening to eat her new corset, then she’s in A Stitch in Time getting measured for a beautiful new dress that she could never wear in real life and eating from the long grass growing through the floor.

Eventually she finds herself on a dais in a church, praying on her knees. Elaine looks up to see Ginerva at the pulpit, and she can’t resist staring at those red hands framing the badger’s generous bosom.

“I see you still need to work on your control.” the badger says sternly. “A punishment is in order.”

A fist grips her hair, and then her wrists are brought up to her horns and lashed in place with wet, dripping paint. Niccolo laughs from somewhere behind her and Elaine realizes she’s not wearing her robe.

She gasps as more paint trickles down her fur and two rough hands grab her chest.
No. 1021299 ID: eedbeb
File 164315178284.png - (220.77KB , 1000x1000 , p17.png )

A shriek wakes Elaine from her confusing dream. She bolts upright, adrenaline pumping in her veins and an easily ignored warmth between her thighs.

Elaine looks around wildly for the source of the noise, the lantern providing a limited range of light. Hairy brown shapes with gnomes saddled on their backs dart across the camp to swipe at the adventurers with their sharp tusks.

Cierce the half-elf is covering her bare chest with one arm and trying to spell gnomes with the other, armor in pieces on the ground. The gnomes must have landed a lucky hit and destroyed her clothes!

Elaine dodges an incoming boar and scans the area for any other casualties. To her surprise, she sees Niccolo in his underwear, frantically painting a barrier around the cart while gnomes stab at his ankles.

What should Elaine do?
A. Counterattack the gnomes with her powerful kicks
B. Help Cierce
C. Help Niccolo
No. 1021301 ID: 96c896

Help Cierce. She can't cast spells while distracted so you can run interference for her.
No. 1021302 ID: afe7de

A! You've got strong kicks, use those leggies! try to kick so that you start forming a defensive circle!
No. 1021303 ID: b2eec0

A! Fight the gnomes by punting them with your cow-erful legs!
No. 1021304 ID: 629f2e

I'm gonna toss a vote to C. We're on this mission to assist with the transport, so our first priority should be the cart. We don't know how fragile the items in it are. Plus, the Censors will probably appreciate our priorities, helping us get along with them for the journey's remainder.
No. 1021307 ID: 2aef11

Elaine, we have a job to do. C: help Niccolo defend the cart.
No. 1021309 ID: 8a51ec

C. Protect the cargo at all costs! And Niccolo too or something.
No. 1021310 ID: c92a02

A! Scatter gnomes with a stomp! Crush gnome skulls between your powerful thighs!
No. 1021329 ID: a2493c

C. Obligations before charity.
No. 1021408 ID: eedbeb
File 164325179089.png - (176.02KB , 1000x1000 , p18.png )

Elaine resists the urge to help the poor half-elf and resists the even stronger urge to trample the gnomes under her hooves. Her sworn duty is to protect the cart and its owners, so that’s what she’s going to do.

There are roughly ten gnomes around Niccolo’s bare calves, some struggling to trip the human while others are trying to squeeze through the painted barrier. Elaine leaps between boars to reach the cart, averting her eyes from Niccolo’s perfectly average body.

She kicks away the gnomes closest to her and grabs one that’s hacking at the protective white cloth on the back half of the cart. As she pulls it away, it lifts the corner of the cover and she catches a glimpse of a polished wood box.

With her help, Niccolo manages to fortify the fence, and the two of them swipe with fists and blades of paint at any gnomes that dare approach.
No. 1021409 ID: eedbeb
File 164325180462.png - (215.99KB , 1000x1000 , p19.png )

The fight drags on for several tense minutes at a worrying stalemate. Elaine can feel herself getting tired, and despite her strong blows, the gnomes don’t show any sign of injury.

Triple G lets out a manly shriek as the gnomes swarm him, climbing up his legs with lengths of rope between their white teeth. Cierce’s been bound and Elaine can’t see Celyn in the chaos. Worry starts to grip her ribs as she whirls and ducks, panting with exertion.

Niccolo is similarly out of breath.“Where’s Ginerva?” he gasps.

The badger emerges from the woods with the donkey’s lead in one hand and a pocket pistol in the other. There’s a tremendous bang as she fires into a gnome, who’s blasted away with a comical, high pitched ‘hooooooooo’. The gunshot gets the other gnomes’ attention.

“Get out of our forest!” one shouts.

“Nasty intruders!”

“We’ll throw you out if you don’t leave!”

Elaine has successfully defended the payload, but the gnomes are still upset. What should she do to defuse the situation?
No. 1021410 ID: c92a02

Let's go! we'll pack up and be on our way. Any gnome who objects can talk to the hoof.
No. 1021411 ID: d55854

Simply aplogize and tell them you'll all leave, you all didn't know this was their territory.
But suggest to them to next time to put up signs that reads "do not enter, gnome territory" because, come on, how were we supposed to know this was their home we were intruding on?
No. 1021412 ID: 0838d6

Misdirection: Say you saw the real intruder, the FAKE GNOME earlier on your route jump into a knothole, you think they were hiding from the REAL AWESOME GNOMES like these ones in front of you. Hope that since they're stupid and territorial you can pin it on someone else and say you'll leave at daybreak
No. 1021413 ID: 96c896

They've got protective wards too. What kind of wards are they? Attacking a church caravan could spark retaliation against whoever they got their protection spells from. Druids? Mages? Those are the only two options... aside from... a church splinter group? Or is the inter-church rivalry strong enough to cause incidents like this?

Well. Inform them of who they are attacking, and tell them it's clear they did this for reasons other than trespassing. You WARN trespassers before attacking, and you don't go grabbing at their belongings. They look like brigands, and brigands get hunted down by the military. Or by church enforcers.
No. 1021417 ID: 8483cf

Apologize profusely for intruding on their gnome sweet gnome. Maybe we should move our camp to a point just outside their territory? Is there a line they don't care about somewhere that we can cross?

They don't look like they're backed by the Church- they're far too silly. Maybe their hats are super-magical wards!
No. 1021422 ID: a2493c

"We were planning to leave already, we're travelers! There was no need to attack us, you simply could have asked!"
No. 1021423 ID: 8a51ec

Let Ginerva know you owe her one after things have calmed down.
Yeah, this smells like some bullshit. Do they really think attacking trespassers without warning and gunning straight for their cargo isn't going to raise some questions?
No. 1021433 ID: 629f2e


Agreed. Point out that they didn't try to chase them out, they tried to rob you.

Also, we should probably make sure all the adventurers are okay and accounted for before we go.
No. 1021438 ID: 12eb7b

"We are just passing through. Release our comrades and we will leave the area immediately."
No. 1021485 ID: eedbeb
File 164334144096.png - (213.21KB , 1000x1000 , p20.png )

“We’re travelers taking the road through the forest, you shouldn’t try to steal from us!” Elaine says hotly. “Everyone should be allowed safe passage without having to worry about random, unprovoked attacks.”

The gnomes mutter to themselves and one nudges his boar forward into the light. This gnome has a particularly fine hat with gold trim, and Elaine guesses he’s the leader.

“Recently more and more people have been traveling through these lands. They cut down trees to fuel their fires and trample whatever stands in their path. I do not recognize you child, but the adventurers who have camped with you have hunted and killed our steeds only to cut off their ears and leave the bodies rotting in the open!” he squeaks.

“Is that true?” Elaine asks Triple G, aghast.

The burly man has his hands tied behind his back, his clothes reduced to rags at his knees. Now there’s a man who is decidedly above average.

“We’re managing the aggressive animal problem.” he mutters.

“You are intimidating my people for your own selfish gain!” The gnome leaps out of his saddle and stomps up to Triple G, waving a tiny finger.
No. 1021486 ID: eedbeb
File 164334144883.png - (195.69KB , 1000x1000 , p21.png )

“Gnomes, the Church of Censorship means no harm.” Niccolo says in an oily tone. “We were merely passing through on official Goddess business and we’ll leave as soon as morning comes.”

Niccolo seems a little too excited that Cierce and Triple G are tied up, and Elaine notices he’s painted himself a modesty square in front of his crotch.

“Next time maybe you could give us a warning?” Elaine proposes. “You can’t harm us because of our armor spells, and we can’t harm you because of your magic, so you should try to talk first.”

The king gnome still seems unhappy, but the anger is more directed at Celyn’s party than Elaine’s. “We can put a sign at the start of the woods, but it will be ignored. The whole forest is frustrated by the mortals’ lack of respect. We used to have a fine relationship, exchanging trinkets for cookies and cobbling services, but times have changed.”

What should Elaine do? Niccolo and Ginerva will take her advice.
A. Allow the gnomes to remove the adventurers (guaranteed Church passage)
B. Stand up for the adventurers with a compelling argument (it better be good)
C. Resume fighting
No. 1021487 ID: 629f2e

B, Let's make a case for the adventurers here.

It's true that they did come and kill your steeds, but it wasn't their wills that it should be done. These people accepted a job to address a problem that some folks in town were clearly having. They aren't the culprits, they're freelancers caught in the middle, being punished for what they took on good faith to be honest and helpful work. The gnomes' ire should be directed at the ones who put up such a job request without consideration for their way of life. If it was ignorance, then communication should clear it up with ease. And if it was malice or a lack of care, then all the more important that the gnomes reveal these people's true colors so that future requests by them can be ignored or granted far more scrutiny.

Now, these gnomes shouldn't be forced to deal with the town's politics to defend themselves, but thankfully they don't have to. After all, the adventurers given such a quest should be more than frustrated enough by the results to pursue the matter themselves. These adventurers are only a symptom, and releasing them may help cure the problem.
No. 1021489 ID: afe7de

I like this, it means that people directly effected by these events will be made to go attempt to rectify it and talk to the questgivers, thus gaining a quest of their own, and if it's resolved well, then they'll probably be happy by the resolution and be offered a reward by the gnomes. I support this plan.
No. 1021490 ID: 790ada

What if we asked to have one of their diplomats travel with the adventurers so that they may speak to their leader and negotiate things? (king/queen, president, whatever)
No. 1021491 ID: 67181a


B) in addition to the above you know a cool seamstress that can make sweet new hats for the gnomes and surely the adventurers can use their sweet adventurer buxx to pay for them to show their contrition for the damage theyve done.

You can even show off her handiwork.
No. 1021492 ID: ce39da

Yeah. Also stress that the MANNER with which they did the beasts in was to them pragmatic, though it be disturbing from the gnome's perspective. Neither perspective is wrong, of course; the adventurers had simply failed to consider how bringing back ears as proof of deed would look to someone lacking context, much less that there even was any outside observer to consider, while the gnomes who happened upon the scene still have every right to be disturbed at seeing their trusted steeds butchered and left to rot. Furthermore, the adventurers should be given a chance to explain what the actual job was, and what (allegedly) led to it being posted; one should not assume another's motive when they sit before you, able to speak.
No. 1021494 ID: 8483cf

B, and use this smart person argument
No. 1021524 ID: 9a2966

Um. Could the gnomes hire the adventurers to figure out WHY times have changed so drastically and maybe work to figure out a fix? This incentivizes the adventurers, who otherwise seems the losing party in this deal.
No. 1021525 ID: 327fd0

That could be their way of repaying the damage done so far as well, so they can travel without being hassled in the future. Because there is some repentance to do here as well.

Seriously, just leaving the pigs to rot? That does smell of intrigue... or laziness? So was bringing trouble to this camp - if they were stirring up trouble with the locals and getting others involved without their consent that’s definitely complaints-worthy from the Wayfinders’ and the church’s side!
No. 1021526 ID: a5ff41

That could work.
No. 1021558 ID: eedbeb
File 164341307760.png - (190.11KB , 1000x1000 , p22.png )

Elaine takes a deep breath. “Okay, so I believe that the adventurers have wronged you, but you’ve wronged us as well with this attack. Can I ask why you think things have changed?”

The king gnome strokes his beard. “I’m not quite sure. There have been more people passing through, and the farms have expanded towards this area, though they have not quite reached the woods. The new farmers seem to have no need for us, with their mass produced items.”

“That’s why my employers want the area to be safe.” Triple G rumbles. “I wasn’t hired to collect meat or hides.”

Elaine nods encouragingly. “We can’t control other people’s actions but at least we can help improve our relations. Maybe you could ask for a weregild? Or perhaps a better way to control the animals with spells instead of force.”
No. 1021559 ID: eedbeb
File 164341309198.png - (196.04KB , 1000x1000 , p23.png )

The king snaps his fingers and a troupe of gnomes trots out of the forest with Celyn on their shoulders. The kobold isn’t naked, but looks scared.

The gnomes set him on the ground and he wobbles for a second.

“You, druid! Can your kind put scent barriers around the woods?” the king asks briskly.

“Er, yes?”

“Very well. Joffrey, come here.”

One of the many identical gnomes detaches himself from the group and stands at attention with a salute.

“You will join these adventurers as a diplomat and make sure they mend their ways so no more senseless violence occurs.”

“Yes sir.” Joffrey squeaks.

The king climbs back into his saddle, nods to Elaine, and rides away.
No. 1021560 ID: eedbeb
File 164341310192.png - (208.97KB , 1000x1000 , p24.png )

After the gnomes disappear into the dark woods, Elaine breathes a sigh of relief. She can’t shake the feeling that she was lucky, and the next group of adventurers to anger the gnomes won’t be so easily forgiven.

Ginerva hands Niccolo another set of robes from the cart and the man wriggles into his garments before tossing a few split logs on the fire.

From what Elaine can tell, the adventurers are unharmed but shaken. Joffrey the diplomat undoes Cierce and Triple G’s bindings and they stand, rubbing their wrists and blinking.

Niccolo gives a huge yawn and waves his brush vaguely at the adventurers. “You two have a minute to get some clothes on before you’re arrested.”

“What?” Celyn exclaims. He scrambles in front of his compatriots and holds out his thin arms to shield them from view. Besides some scuff marks, his new armor seems intact. “We were just attacked! How are they supposed to be dressed?”

“They should have spares, of course. Do adventurers usually ignore the rules when there’s no one watching?”

Joffrey watches, mouth open, as Niccolo and the druid square off. What should Elaine do?

A. Fight! Fight!
B. “Can we please just go to bed?”
C. Grab Niccolo by the collar and drag him away.
No. 1021561 ID: 96c896

Which gives me an idea: they can wear bedsheets.
No. 1021563 ID: 629f2e

D: "The church preaches generosity, doesn't it? Surely you and Ginerva have spares of your own you could offer, right? You must have some in case of an attack like this, seeing as you chastised them for not being prepared, riiiiight? I think your clothes could fit Cierce nicely, Niccolo, even if the chest will be tight."
No. 1021564 ID: 0159c8

C) "This area is not your jurisdiction, it belongs to the gnomes. We just established that ten seconds ago. If you force people to follow laws that have no legal backing, no matter how spiritually sound, they're going to come up with equally unstable laws that involve church arson and impose them on you."
No. 1021573 ID: c92a02

C. That is not how you thank a fellow party of travelers for their assistance in fending off a gnome ambush!
No. 1021574 ID: 9a2966

B. Roll your eyes at the blatantly abusive antics and offer up the obvious solution.

They should not count as naked whilst covered in their beds (or bedrolls). Unless the church mandates what one should wear while resting in privacy, and busts down doors in the middle of the night to check? That'd be... an interesting local edict to be sure (and hey, if the thought of that gets Niccolo salivating, you've at least derailed his current train of thought).

Get Celyn to improvise some clothes from spare stuff, since he's the otherwise only other mobile person. You can help them if need be, but you can't really afford to, uh, spare much cloth. You have the distinct feeling you may need it yourself.

You'll also need sleep - yours so far has been rather... disturbed, unfortunately, and you will have to get up early tomorrow to get a start on your day. Gotta get your escort MOVING, yes? If someone else sleeps in... well, that's none of YOUR business.
No. 1021576 ID: ce39da

Oh, man, yeah, this is pretty good. Supporting B. And if Niccolo complains about this being a stretch, simply point out the obvious: "I'd have assumed it would be obvious that these adventurers did not choose to be disrobed, and that they do not possess spares simply due to lacking either funds or foresight. I think erring toward leniency on this edge case is only fair. Perhaps the gnomes who so forcibly induced this indecent state can help Celyn produce a less temporary solution while the others are covered?" Glance meaningfully at Joffrey.
No. 1021577 ID: 12eb7b

D) "Indeed they are in dire need of clothes. Nights are cold and it's sin to be nude. Niccolo, help me search for something to cover them until they can find more permanent clothes."

I think he only wants to play with the adventurers. No ill will but I doubt these adventurers will take it so easy. Is a softer way to C but if he inist you can bring "Because no good Deacon would negate help to avoid sin right?" or "Isn't helping those in need a duty of the church?"
No. 1021578 ID: 8a51ec

Whatever the case, call Niccolo out for immediately attempting to sabotage our mending of relations with the gnomes by starting shit in front of their diplomat.
No. 1021613 ID: a2493c

lets not mouth off to our employers too bad, actually. That's a bad idea, you see, and will damage our ability to work in the future.

No, what we need right now is to distract tactfully. I suggest asking if adventurers need be dressed while sleeping chastely in their sleeping bags like >>1021574 suggested, then use that to buy time while we cobble some shit out of leaves or whatever.
No. 1021615 ID: 8a51ec

>lets not mouth off to our employers too bad, actually. That's a bad idea, you see, and will damage our ability to work in the future.
Uhh, about that...
No. 1021616 ID: a2493c

yes, exactly, we are ALREADY ON THIN ICE.
No. 1021617 ID: 629f2e


No. 1021800 ID: eedbeb
File 164358206461.png - (246.99KB , 1000x1000 , p25.png )

Elaine puts herself between the two men and addresses Celyn. “It’s time to sleep, so for now they can cover themselves with blankets while you help make them some clothing.” She turns to Niccolo. “Got it? I’m tired, we have a long day tomorrow, and I don’t want any more trouble. If you have such a big problem you can give them your spare robes instead of looking for a fight. ”

Niccolo puts his hands up in defeat. “Oh, yes ma’am, I’m so sorry ma’am. I’ve been awfully bad, haven’t I?”

“I can help mend their clothes.” Joffrey pipes up before Elaine can decode Niccolo’s tone.

“Thank you.” Elaine tells the diminutive creature sincerely. “Good night.”

She settles herself on her patch of grass and falls asleep. When she wakes for her watch shift, she doesn’t remember her dreams.
No. 1021801 ID: eedbeb
File 164358207267.png - (267.14KB , 1000x1000 , p26.png )

The next morning, Ginerva packs up the camp with tight efficiency after dispensing some hard biscuits for breakfast. Joffrey and Celyn have put together two passable outfits from the scraps left behind from the gnome attack, and Niccolo thankfully doesn’t comment.

Since the adventurers have their new task with diplomat Joffrey and resolving tensions with the gnomes, they bid Elaine farewell to retrace their steps to Busalla. Celyn is friendly but the other two seem vaguely resentful of her, between inviting them to camp with the Censors and not helping them in the battle. Elaine gives them the Wayfinders’ blessing and cheerlessly watches them leave.

Ginerva harnesses the donkey and the group resumes their journey through the forest. Ginerva and Niccolo are both friendly to Elaine.

What should Elaine do? She has two updates’ worth of time each for morning, afternoon, and evening during this long day of travel and can build her relationship with the Censors, explore the surrounding area, or try to find out what’s in the cart. Feel free to suggest other activities as well.
No. 1021802 ID: 8a51ec

Perhaps now is a good time to apologize to Ginerva for rather bluntly expressing distaste for the church to her.
No. 1021803 ID: afe7de

I kinda wanna talk to Niccolo and ask about situations like this, do they keep backup clothes they charge people for stored, or do they use censor magic to bind them and then keep them arrested even if they were within a forest or on their property. Is it any nudity even if it's within their own space or private spaces that isn't allowed?

I would think keeping and indebting people using backup clothes would be a much quicker way to rack up funds and debts to the church which would be a financial incentive to act that way.

Another interesting tidbit, arresting them would mean having to escort them to town or to the next town, and while it's doing their duty they only have so much of a cart, wouldn't it just be better to fine them in this kind of situation, or give them a court mandated order, like a ticket and then report it to the upper echelons for public lewdity under sight of a clergyman?
No. 1021804 ID: 12eb7b

Technically Elaine should watch the road to make sure it's safe for her charges, but I think that she must speak with Niccolo before this situation goes out of control in a bad situation.

I doubt Elaine want to be hurtful against Niccolo and he seems really upset for how Elaine reacted about his tastes. Maybe an open mind and an apology can make this trip a lot easier for everyone involved "I might not be into the same things that you, but that doesn't give me the right to judge you. For that I am sorry if I offended you. Can we start over again?"

Even if he is not as rightful as espected for someone of his position, so far he hasn't showed to be a total creep or corrupt. Also Ginerva seems to trust him and she doesn't fit me as someone who trusts easily.
No. 1021806 ID: c92a02

Spend time with Ginerva, ask about the bishop's career. And your sense of adventure requires you to investigate the box. Just needle them for information, they haven't given us a reason to go behind their backs... yet.
No. 1021874 ID: 629f2e

Chat with badger, poke around box. Ask her about Niccolo and herself.
No. 1021888 ID: e51896

maybe instead of poking around the box, we can ask what exactly they are delivering. If they ask why, tell them it might be best to know so you can understand how important keeping this cargo safe is.
No. 1021890 ID: ce39da

Obviously, don't phrase this in a way that suggests you won't be taking this job seriously if it's not something major. Maybe phrase it more as "as an escort with two charges and one piece of cargo, it would help if I properly understood which I should be prioritizing if I am suddenly put in a crisis situation and forced to choose." If all she says about the cargo is "prioritize the box" or "prioritize us," that's fine, too.
No. 1022042 ID: eedbeb
File 164376447655.png - (336.65KB , 1000x1000 , p27.png )

Elaine wants to ask Niccolo more about the Church’s enforcement methods. How was he expecting to arrest Cierce and Triple G in the middle of the woods? Would he just tie them up and walk them back to Busalla? That doesn’t seem like a feasible enforcement method. There’s a lot she doesn’t understand about her employers.

Niccolo is a bit sluggish, yawning and blinking in the bright sunlight, so Elaine decides to wait and talk to Ginerva first. She still wants to apologize for her comments at their first meeting.

The badger is walking alongside the cart, while Niccolo trails behind. Elaine lengthens her stride and easily catches up. She can’t help eying the covered area of the cart. Now that she knows about the box, she can make out the edges under the thick protective cloth.

“Good morning.” she says politely.

“Good morning to you. I very much appreciate your effort to protect Niccolo and our supplies yesterday.” Ginerva says.

“Oh, no problem, it’s my solemn duty as an initiate to protect my companions and their goods.” Elaine responds, slightly flustered by the praise.

“But I’m sure in the confusion you could have focused on the gnomes, or those adventurers.” Ginerva continues. “You’ve earned my trust with your choice.”
No. 1022043 ID: eedbeb
File 164376448657.png - (184.91KB , 1000x1000 , p28.png )

“Ah, thank you.” Elaine rubs the back of her head. She almost can’t believe what she’s hearing. “I’m sorry for what I said yesterday, about the Church using excessive force.”

“Don’t be. I didn’t like what I heard but there’s truth in your criticism. It seems the gnomes and I share some concerns. As the people recover from the Wars of the Coalitions, they tend to spread out. Where the people go, the church must follow, and it becomes harder to enforce uniform standards without punishment.”

The badger sighs. “Even within our own ranks there is laxness and failure to enforce some sections of our doctrine. The Church is very different now than when I was just a simple nun.”

“If you don’t mind, can you please tell me how you became a bishop?” Elaine asks.

“Of course. It was a long journey, and partially due to good fortune that I gained this position. I came from a poor family and joined the local monastery as a young adult. After earning my degree in theological studies, I became a priest, and when the current deacon retired I was selected from a few candidates for the position.”

The badger sighs again. “I miss being a priest, or even a simple nun in some ways. I’m honored to serve our Goddess at this level but there’s a lot of managerial work involved.”
No. 1022044 ID: eedbeb
File 164376449419.png - (189.09KB , 1000x1000 , p29.png )

>The box
“This must be an important mission then,” Elaine says carefully. “During the gnome attack last night, I caught a glimpse of the wood box in the cart.”

“It’s none of your business, I assure you.” Ginerva says, tone a tad sharp.

“I-I’m just curious, if it’s something extremely valuable I wonder if I should prioritize the cart over your safety in a future attack.” Elaine toys with the hem of sleeves.

“Hm.” The badger spares a glance at the mysterious box. “Our armor spells should be enough to protect us physically, so yes, prioritize the sacred relic.”

Oho, that’s the first time Ginerva’s called it a relic. It must be some kind of holy object.

Any parting words to Ginerva? Afterwards Elaine will talk to Niccolo, so suggest additional questions for him as well.
No. 1022048 ID: c92a02

Will do, big mama! Though punishment seems to be equally difficult to enact and universally disliked. Maybe the church needs to be reassess its capabilities.
No. 1022053 ID: 27b7a2

"Will do!" (Suppose that's about all the detail we need to know, in theory. I doubt any single relic will be seen as more controversial or cause more complications than another.) "All the same, perhaps I am less frustrated with the strictness that the censors display, and more just with how others might use that vigilance for ill. I understand the necessity for punishment against those sorts of violators, and I also have nothing but good things to say about the shielding spell revolution, but I imagine even you can probably admit that the acts born from the interaction between these two policies have been... unfortunate. I'd be happy to speak more on this later if you're willing to listen to the concerns of a lowly initiate."

Let's keep it brief since he isn't in a state to talk too much - we know the why, but now we're curious how someone with such priorities managed to work his way up. Not that we're incredulous! To be honest, we're somewhat in awe of his ability to display such eccentricities so openly while also seeming to paradoxically be taking his duties seriously.
No. 1022061 ID: 8483cf

Ginerva: happy to be of service!

Niccolo, why you gotta be so in our face about your kinks?
No. 1022077 ID: 34dfce

Very much seconding saying the first bit to Ginerva (idc either way with the Niccolo bit).
No. 1022085 ID: 629f2e


Agreed with this for Ginerva.

As for Niccolo, I'll add onto DC's question to ask more directly about how well he gets along with Ginerva. It almost seems like with how different they are and how open he is she'd be calling him out every second of the day, but she isn't (reminder, he did that demonstration choking thing while both of us were in front of the cart, therefore in front of Ginerva). How does he get away with it?
No. 1022285 ID: eedbeb
File 164393640114.png - (250.66KB , 1000x1000 , p30.png )

>Parting words
“Will do ma’am. One more thing, about the Church’s enforcement policies, um, I feel like from the interactions I’ve seen there could be some reassessment–”

“Please stop trying to push your luck, initiate.” Ginerva groans.

“Right, right, my apologies…” Elaine titters nervously and drifts behind the cart to match pace with Niccolo. She’s not going to let this go, but she needs to wait for Ginerva to be in a more receptive mood.

Niccolo seems to have woken up after the brisk morning walk and greets Elaine with a cheerful smile when she drops in next to him. Oh boy, the questions Elaine has for this guy. She’ll ease into it with a small apology.

“It’s a fine morning, Niccolo.” she says pleasantly.

“Yeah, it’s pretty nice.” The man cracks his neck and scratches his growing beard. “What’s up?”

“I wanted to say sorry if I offended you yesterday with how I reacted to your history. It was wrong of me to judge.”

Niccolo shrugs. “If you’re not into something, you’re not into it. I come off kind of strong, I know, but it’s a good way to find people who are interested.”
No. 1022286 ID: eedbeb
File 164393641474.png - (217.57KB , 1000x1000 , p31.png )

“Oh, so you do, uh, do things. Even though you can’t have sex.” Elaine stutters. “I mean, well, it makes me curious. How in the world is that allowed?”
Niccolo frowns. “I’m not breaking any rules and it keeps me out of trouble. Sure I’ll never be promoted to a priest but I’m happy where I am. It’s a fun job.”

This is very confusing to Elaine as a loyal and devout Wayfinder. Are there also monks who don’t search for cosmic truths?

“So do you believe in the Church’s teachings at all?”

Niccolo laughs. “Come on, it doesn’t take much mental effort to agree with a Goddess who’s brought lasting safety to the realm. And of course we need to protect people’s purity with scoundrels like me around, ready to ogle.”

That still seems vaguely…wrong. Elaine lowers her voice. “How does Ginerva handle working with you? I feel like you two are very different.”

“Oh, she doesn’t like it of course, you saw her smack me yesterday. She puts up with it because I actually know how to use a brush unlike all the deacons too scared to abuse a ‘holy object’.”

Elaine makes smalltalk with Niccolo until they stop for a lunch of the same cold biscuits they had in the morning. The break seems more for the donkey, who takes a deep drink from the nearby stream and munches on some alfalfa.

What should Elaine do in the afternoon? (Runner up option will be available in next selection)
A. See if anyone is coming behind them on the road
B. Examine the surroundings for threats
C. Tell Niccolo she’s interested in what he has to offer (SPICY)
No. 1022287 ID: c92a02

B. Take a deep drink from the nearby stream and munch on some alfalfa while you're at it.
No. 1022288 ID: 96c896

B. Get slightly distracted thinking about giving Niccolo a spanking.
No. 1022289 ID: ce39da

Hard B - we must be vigilant in our duties.
No. 1022290 ID: 629f2e

There's at least something respectable in his understanding of where he stands. He's put himself in a place where he's happy, and the church is satisfied with his work. Even if he is still a freak, he's at least the kind who knows what he's about instead of the type who has convinced themselves otherwise.

B - We don't want to get caught offguard by another attack. Make sure that if something is coming, it doesn't catch you off guard this time.

...I'm not against C, but I'm not voting for it. Yet.
No. 1022314 ID: 8483cf

B, munch on tasty grass too
No. 1022329 ID: a2493c

can't say we're down for C after he tried to pull a fast one on those adventurers. Kind of a turn-off, really.

That said, I suppose in his view they'd got the clergy attacked by gnomes by being irresponsible, so I guess that judgement winds up a mulligan.

I feel like there's more to this guy than base perversion, I still don't quite dislike him even after that.
No. 1022331 ID: 19ea25

B: Lets get a good look around the place.
His views are oddly respectable view. He owns up to it rather then tries to deny it or acts like they're part of the church itself.
No. 1022511 ID: eedbeb
File 164411646275.png - (138.55KB , 1000x1000 , p32.png )

Protecting her companions and their cargo is of utmost importance! Elaine has a long drink from the stream and tells Ginerva that she’s leaving the cart to have a look around. The alfalfa hay smells awfully good, but Elaine would be embarrassed to ask for some.

Elaine forges ahead on the road. The forest thins and from the high point on a hill Elaine can glimpse the Tyrrhenian Sea in the distance, a thin blue sheet that fades into the horizon.

It's a beautiful country. Her travels might take her elsewhere but she relishes the cool breeze as she bounds through tall grass, craning her neck to look for any danger. In the full light of day, Elaine doesn’t see many animals besides a small herd of deer, who stare at her with dark eyes until she’s out of sight.
No. 1022512 ID: eedbeb
File 164411647050.png - (230.47KB , 1000x1000 , p33.png )

Elaine spots some travelers on the road, migrants and merchants and unfamiliar adventurers. She exchanges a few pleasant words, but none have anything suspicious to report.

She’s about ready to turn around when she spots a twisted brown shape partially hidden behind a large tree on the side of the road. It’s a broken wagon, with the wheels smashed and a few scraps of cloth scattered inside the bed. The scraps look fresh, colors still bright. Heart beating,
Elaine carefully searches the surroundings and finds some scattered and partially eaten food supplies. Everything of value is missing.

No wild animal could have done this, and magical creatures wouldn’t be interested in mundane travelers. This must be the work of bandits.

Elaine hurries back to the cart and reports her findings. Ginerva glances at the hidden box, brow furrowed with worry, while Niccolo’s hand finds his brush for reassurance.

What should Elaine do next?
A. Come up with a strategy to deal with bandits if they attack (suggest)
B. Relax by fooling around with Niccolo
C. Search the surroundings for the bandit camp
No. 1022525 ID: a2493c

other option is we go back to the adventurers we met, inform them of the bandits, and create a caravan.

Danger of that option, though, is that those "adventurers" might be our bandits. The lack of bodies around the cart could be evidence of this, since they would have mentioned it if they got robbed.
No. 1022557 ID: e51896

A. Safety in numbers, bandits usually attack in groups. Probably best to find some traveling adventurers that might be going the same direction as us before moving forward, let them know of what we found, and travel together with them. Request putting up armor spells on ourselves and if it's possible, the cart on the way through in case of projectiles, and have one or two of us be on lookout for anything suspicious as we drive through.

Also, if we have some, maybe get a wooden panel to cover whatever is in the box over the treasure to make it look like a surface, and put some possessions in there so if bandits get to it, they'll steal those instead and not think to look under the wooden panel where the relic is.
No. 1022558 ID: 629f2e


The other adventurers are on their way back to Busalla. We would have a hard time catching up with them, let alone convincing them to come with us again after how they were treated previously.

A is the play for sure. C will lead to the cart getting attacked while we're away, and B ignores our current duties.

Tell the party to ready their weapons, as we're crossing through bandit territory. Perhaps Ginerva can hide in the cart with the relic under the sheet. She has a ranged weapon, and can take potshots at the bandits while you and Niccolo deal with them head on. She can stay put initially, and come out if you and Niccolo start losing or if any of them reach the cart to try and take the relic. Then she can pop out like a jack-in-the-box and blast them head on!

Don't be too quick to trust any other adventurers you run into. They could be the bandits themselves. Don't turn away any you meet, but don't tell them about Ginerva and don't let them out of your sight. That way if the bandits are sneaky and stage an attack to let their fake adventurers rob us in the midst of it, they won't be prepared for your last line of defense.
No. 1022581 ID: c92a02

A. secure the chest to the cart tightly. Paint the sides of the cart with the brush to have those strokes ready and waiting to attack with, if that's how brush magic works anyway.
No. 1022657 ID: 8483cf

A. Go as far as you can today, then camp away from the road and don't light any fires. Bandits look for easy prey; we're not going to make it any easier for them.
No. 1022658 ID: a2493c

no not those guys, the other ones we encountered
No. 1022683 ID: 34dfce

Can we see a map? That would help planning our next move.
No. 1022703 ID: eedbeb
File 164427003404.png - (232.99KB , 1000x1000 , p34.png )

Bandits are a much more serious concern than the gnomes, and having a plan to defend from an attack is of utmost importance. Elaine asks the Censors if they have a map of the area, and Niccolo pulls a worn piece of parchment from one of the travel bags in the cart.

“I think we’re about here.” he says, pointing to a section south of Busalla close to the coast. “We’re about halfway to Tavarone time wise, it’s flatter so we’ll go faster.”

“We need to stop in this area tonight, to rest the donkey. Perhaps if we camp far from the road and don’t light a fire, we can escape detection.” Ginerva adds.

“Do bandits care that you’re with the Church?” Elaine asks.

Niccolo grimaces. “They don’t like the Church for a lot of reasons. Our armor spells would hold but we’d be lucky if they left us with a loincloth to share on the walk home.”
No. 1022704 ID: eedbeb
File 164427004111.png - (250.25KB , 1000x1000 , p35.png )

Niccolo stuffs the map in his pocket and sets to work reinforcing the bindings over the sheet covering the wooden box. The chest is now strongly secured, and bandits will have to take multiple actions to steal it.

Elaine curses under her breath and wrings her hands. If only Celyn’s party were still here, they’d stand a much better chance of repelling an attack. It’s still light out, but the sun is starting to dip towards the horizon, casting menacing shadows over the land.

“Here.” Ginerva passes Elaine a gun, which she takes with extreme trepidation. “It won’t bite, girl.”

What should Elaine do next? It’s the first action of the evening.

A. Look for friendly adventurers who are heading the same direction on the road. Elaine will find some familiar faces if she picks this option.

B. Look for a well-hidden location to camp

C. Learn how to use gun from Ginerva
No. 1022705 ID: 4b9385

A. Safety in numbers.
No. 1022706 ID: 07ed53

C. Become a proud ruminant with a firearm.
No. 1022707 ID: 629f2e

A, since we'll need to pass through the bandit territory whether we rest the night here or not. Plus, best to warn the others as well, so that they don't run in to trouble too.
No. 1022708 ID: 96c896

A. Let's find more "friends" to use as cheap meat-shields.
No. 1022709 ID: 0838d6

I'm on team B on this one, C would make sense, but in all likelihood you'd use it then and can Elaine handle being a murderer? and A could be fun, but chances are just as good they'll be not interested in helping you.
No. 1022711 ID: 094652

C - You are pointing the gun in your face. You need lessons. Now.
No. 1022712 ID: 8a51ec

C. You're a danger to everybody as long as you have that gun in your hand, so at least learn how to not pose a threat to the people you don't want to shoot. Like, y'know, yourself.
No. 1022714 ID: c92a02

A. You never know who you'll meet on the road. Besides, using a gun is easy. You just grip the handle firmly, then aim at your target and yell 'Bang!'
No. 1022716 ID: 19ea25

C: First lesson. Please stop pointing that at your own face, for the love of the church and badger.
No. 1022726 ID: 8483cf

A - more adventurers means more people to keep watch at night and fight.

Don't point the gun at yourself tho
No. 1022743 ID: 9b127b

C guns are dangerous, gotta learn how to use that or someone could get hurt!
No. 1022748 ID: 769810

Voting A,
No. 1022807 ID: 34dfce

No. 1022808 ID: 8a51ec

The ultimate twist: this quest was actually made to fool suggestors into reciting the Mars Attacks script.
No. 1022849 ID: 076238

I like A but looks as if we are passing the problem to another. C is ok, but I prefer to use the time avoiding problems instead of preparing for them.

Also powder makes sound and can attract attention. Even if having guns might be dissuasory, also can attract people interested in stealing them from us.
No. 1022875 ID: eedbeb
File 164443929281.png - (158.73KB , 1000x1000 , p36.png )

>Gun Safety?
Elaine examines the lump of metal in her hand, turning it back and forth. Ginerva winces every time she points the business end of the weapon at herself. It’s not like a gunshot would kill anyone because of their armor spells, Elaine doesn’t know what all the fuss is about.

“Do you need a few lessons? It seems like you’ve never used a gun before.” the badger says cautiously.

“I’m fine!” Elaine insists. “You just pull this trigger here and point at whatever you want to shoot.”

Ginerva looks like she severely regrets giving Elaine the weapon, but Elaine stuffs the gun in her pocket and hurries away before the badger can protest.

The gun is loaded with one shot and if Elaine is knocked over there’s a chance of accidental discharge that will destroy Elaine’s robe.

Finding allies to camp with for the night is Elaine’s top priority. She already checked the road in front of the cart, so this time she retraces their path toward the forest to look for adventurers.

To her delight, she spots a familiar pair of women after only a few minutes of jogging, maybe two kilometers behind the cart. One is the colorful arctic fox mage Naomi, while the other is her haggard companion Samantha.
No. 1022876 ID: eedbeb
File 164443930350.png - (322.23KB , 1000x1000 , p37.png )

“Good evening!” Elaine says brightly. Naomi is wearing a new outfit, mostly made of mesh. Another one of Saoirse’s customers?

Samantha skids to a stop to eye Elaine suspiciously. “What do you want?”

The human’s hostile tone puts a damper on Elaine’s enthusiasm, but she explains the situation with the bandits while Naomi bounces in place impatiently.

“No.” Samantha answers shortly. “We ran into Triple G and Cierce on our way into the forest and they told us you used them as a distraction during a gnome attack.”

“Aw, c’mon Sammy! Think how cool it would be to fight some bandits.” Naomi complains.

“I don’t want any more trouble.” Samantha groans. Up close Elaine can see the shadows under her eyes. Looking after Naomi must be pretty taxing.

What does Elaine say to convince Naomi and Samantha to join?
No. 1022877 ID: 07ed53

"Come on back to camp with us and rest a bit while Naoimi and I patrol"
No. 1022879 ID: a2493c

two response options:
>"Wasn't like that, I'm contracted as a bodyguard and work comes first."


>"Did they also tell you they were responsible for the gnomes attacking in the first place?"

followed by

>"And I ALSO talked us out of the whole scenario and kept them from getting arrested."
No. 1022881 ID: 220854

She's tired and probably doesnt want to hear our arguments. Just offer to let her sleep while you and Naomi go on patrol.

Take a nap before your patrol so you dont get too tired in the morning while camp is being set up. Maybe the censors will let you get some sleep in the morning in the cart afterwards.
No. 1022882 ID: 220854

Also, lets introduce Sam to Ginerva and Naomi to Niccolo. I'm sure they'd make good chemistry towards each other and can relate pretty well.
No. 1022883 ID: 629f2e

I think Elaine deserves to be a little offended at that summary. After everything she did for Triple G and Cierce, they're badmouthing her for assuming they could hold their own in combat?

"We didn't use them as a distraction, they're just mad we couldn't do more for them during our last fight. We were ambushed during the night, and I had to protect the cargo we're transporting, as the gnomes were trying to get into it. That's the job I was hired for, and it's what I was asked to prioritize. And the attack only took place because they aggravated the gnomes on previous quests."

"You'd think that negotiating their release would have cleared up any hostilities, but apparently not."

"Look, we're less likely to get attacked if we stay together, that is all I'm saying. If an attack does take place, then I and the people I'm traveling with will have to focus on keeping our cargo safe. But even if that's true, staying together means the bandits will have to split their attack up and will be weaker overall. You don't have to trust that I have your back to agree that it's better to stay together. But please believe that even if you wouldn't be my top priority, I would still value your safety and would try to help if things got bad."

That's pretty longwinded, but as some dude once said "If I had more time I'd write a shorter letter", so whatever I'm not editing it.
No. 1022886 ID: c92a02

We didn't use them, I was busy defending the priests, which is my job! False accusations aside, these priests are pretty intimidating and should scare off bandit trouble before it happens.
No. 1022887 ID: ce39da

"Considering that the gnomes were after those two, to begin with, it would be more accurate to say that they were using us as a distraction, and that's assuming any of us had any malice behind our actions, which I highly doubt."

"... Wait, was Celyn not with them?"
No. 1022898 ID: 96c896

Tell them the gnomes would've attacked the adventurers regardless and you were ridiculously outnumbered; it wasn't exactly a fight you could've won. The bandits will likely attack them even if they stay separated from your group, and it's far more likely to be a fight you can win. So long as they stay near the cart, everyone can work together.
No. 1022963 ID: 094652

Shut Naomi's mouth closed with your bare hands.
No. 1023057 ID: eedbeb
File 164453718147.png - (203.57KB , 1000x1000 , p38.png )

Elaine takes a deep breath and prepares to defend herself. It’s upsetting that Celyn’s teammates are spreading lies about her, she’ll have to do something about that when she returns to Busalla.

“First of all, we didn’t use them as a distraction. We were all attacked by the gnomes at the same time, and I chose to help my companions who I’m sworn to protect first. I don’t know if you talked to Celyn at all, but he can tell you I brokered the deal that got the gnomes to let them go in the first place.”

Elaine switches to a more coaxing tone. “If you camp with us, you don’t have to worry about anything. You can sleep the whole night and even if we’re attacked by bandits, we’ll take care of it.”

Samantha wavers, a night of sweet, uninterrupted rest too tempting to resist. “Very well.”

“Wahoo!” Naomi cheers.
No. 1023058 ID: eedbeb
File 164453719641.png - (309.15KB , 1000x1000 , p39.png )

>Brief Patrol
After dropping Samantha off with Ginerva and Niccolo, who’ve taken the cart from the road to a small hollow, Elaine brings Naomi on a brisk walk through the darkening countryside. They see few signs of civilization besides some faded rags in the remnants of an old campsite with a stone-lined fireplace.

“Hey, I found something.” Naomi says, on their way back towards camp.

Elaine looks over the fox’s shoulder at a crumpled white tube that’s been rubbed off against the rough bark of a tree. It’s a snakeskin, but for it to be this big, the snake would have to be almost as wide as Elaine herself. She shivers. Maybe it’s a monster of some kind?

After their odd discovery, Naomi and Elaine return to base, where Naomi helps heat the bare cooking pot with magic so at least the party can enjoy a warm meal. Elaine can see Ginerva and Niccolo are exhausted after their long, stressful day.

They’re out of sight from anyone on the road, but not as far away as Elaine would like. She has a bad feeling that bandits will find them, especially with Naomi’s obvious spell sparks. The arctic fox seems excited about the prospect of a fight and isn’t trying to be subtle, chattering happily while Samantha slumps on the ground and goes to sleep.

Who should take the first watch? Everyone except Samantha is available. The individual will be vulnerable to a surprise attack with different consequences depending on the person.
No. 1023059 ID: 9b127b

Ginerva can take watch
No. 1023060 ID: c92a02

No. 1023061 ID: 629f2e

Ginerva or Naomi would be the smartest option IMO

Elaine: Could have her robe destroyed by her own gun if knocked over by a surprise attack.
Niccolo: Good with the brush, but I worry getting jumped might be a turn on for him.

Ginerva: Mature, capable, damn good shot. Big woman, looks like she could take a hit if caught off guard.
Naomi: Is very willing to kill.

I vote Ginerva over Naomi though, because I don't wanna give any weight to claims that we're using people as decoys.
No. 1023063 ID: 894419

No. 1023077 ID: 12b116

Naomi first watch.
No. 1023093 ID: 8483cf

I vote Naomi for 1st watch. It's not like she'll be able to get much sleep, she's excited about fighting bandits.
No. 1023098 ID: e51896

Ginerva first watch. That way she can sleep earliest after she is done since she is our client.
No. 1023139 ID: eedbeb
File 164460801740.png - (280.58KB , 1000x1000 , p40.png )

Elaine shares her observations and the party considers the problem in worried silence.

“I can do first watch, I don’t mind.” Naomi says innocently.

Niccolo shrugs but doesn’t volunteer. Elaine thinks that's probably for the best.

“I’ll do it.” the badger says firmly. “It’s my duty to lead this mission and I have spare vestments in case my clothes are damaged.”

She points a sharp finger at Elaine. “Do not look at me if I am naked.”

“Of course ma’am.” Elaine squeaks. Niccolo doesn’t get the same reprimand, probably because the Goddess herself couldn’t stop him from staring.

Elaine finds a soft patch of earth to lie down and listens to the chirping of crickets for a long time before she finally falls asleep.

Her limbs feel like lead and her head is foggy. Elaine groans and gags on her next inhale. There’s a diffuse glow lighting the campsite which seems to be coming from the candy scented vapor lying heavy against her face. The bandits have arrived, and Ginerva’s furious, animalistic roar seems to have woken Elaine.
No. 1023140 ID: eedbeb
File 164460802804.png - (411.47KB , 1000x1000 , p41.png )

“Friendsss come back, I need more help!” someone yelps. The feral snarling continues, accompanied by several thuds as heavy coils slam into the far side of the cart. Elaine gets her hands and arms under her and manages to stand upright. Damn this magic smoke, at least at her standing elevation the air is fresher. From her position, Elaine can’t see Ginerva or Naomi.

“Just bite her, I’m busy.” the goat standing over Niccolo snaps. The bandit’s wearing a familiar looking Censor amulet and has a long, delicate pipe in his hand. In the pink light, Elaine can see Niccolo’s eyes are half-open and he’s taking deep breaths of the tainted air.

She doesn’t notice the masked bandit approaching from her left until the stringy figure is only a meter away, wooden club raised to knock her back down.

What should Elaine do? Each person has one major action per update. The bandits got free actions this turn because of their surprise attack.

Snake: Upset Ginerva (method unknown)
Mask: Attacked Ginerva
Goat: Put down smoke cloud

Elaine choices:
A. Help Ginerva
B. Help Niccolo
C. Wake Samantha (+1 to active party members, but she’ll be angry with Elaine)
D. Attack Mask with risk of losing robe
No. 1023141 ID: 0838d6

C. Everyone knows that the action economy is more important than someone being angy, plus, they'll be angy anyway if they find out what happened.
No. 1023143 ID: 629f2e

B, We need to wake Niccolo up and get him in the fight. Let's tackle the goat and scream to wake him up. If our gun goes off mid-tackle, that should be loud enough to do the trick.
No. 1023144 ID: 19ea25

B: That magical smoke is causing some major problems and overall it sounds like Ginerva is putting the snake to the wall.
No. 1023145 ID: 4d401c

B - Niccolo is going to need help getting up from the gote smoke
No. 1023147 ID: 5532a7

B help Niccolo. Getting rid of smoke goat is priority.
No. 1023148 ID: 8a51ec

B. Ginerva possibly getting poisoned is really bad, but it sounds like she's doing better than Niccolo right now.
No. 1023159 ID: c92a02

D. Niccolo is... Niccolo, reduce the number of hostiles by socking it to this masked maniac.
No. 1023179 ID: eedbeb
File 164463346170.png - (332.80KB , 1000x1000 , p42.png )

Elaine dodges the swing of the club and lunges for the smoke goat, tackling him to the ground. He gasps in surprise and thrashes in her grip, soft fur slippery under her fingers. He manages to tear open the reinforced front of Elaine’s robe with his stubby horns.

Niccolo lazily sits up and blinks at the display in front of him. The masked bandit, without a target, redirects their attention to the cart.

“We’re being attacked, Niccolo, do something!” Elaine knocks the pipe out of the goat’s hand while he locks his thighs around her waist. The smoke starts to thin immediately.

“Ignore her, gorgeous,” the goat says. He scrabbles for his pipe, but Elaine pulls him back.

Niccolo’s eyes are very pink and he stares at the tangle of bovidae. “Who’re you?”

“I’m Bruto, darling, why don’t you lie back down and make yourself comfortable.” the goat grunts. Elaine knocks his hand away from her horns and knees him in the crotch, which is sadly ineffective due to the armor spell from his Church amulet.

The deacon rubs his face and groans. “Man, I need to jerk off.”

As the smoke fades, the light dims as well, until a shimmering orb of red and blue sparks leaps into the air to fully illuminate the campsite.
No. 1023180 ID: eedbeb
File 164463347804.png - (210.35KB , 1000x1000 , p43.png )

Elaine: Partially uncharmed Niccolo
Snake: Bit Ginerva, who will shortly pass out
Ginerva: Bit Snake, who is injured and sad
Bruto: Sexily wrestled with Elaine and undid her robe
Mask: Rifled through cart, discovered box
Niccolo: Horny
Naomi: Summoned a light orb so she can see what’s going on, she’ll start shooting next turn

(By some miracle the gun in Elaine’s pocket has not gone off.)

This is infuriating. Elaine is going to wring Niccolo’s neck, who would have guessed he needed maintenance masturbation to resist charm magic?

Her choices:
A. Fully break Niccolo out of the spell by being sexier than Bruto so the Censor can be useful (suggest how, and it has to be very lewd because that goat is hot)

B. Pin Bruto to the ground and attempt to take off his amulet (risk of breathing in too much pipe smoke)

C. Other, suggest non-goat related actions
No. 1023181 ID: 0838d6

Fling goat to mask and protect the box!
No. 1023182 ID: c92a02

A. You left the box alone, so now you really need the backup!
You could try wringing his neck, he seemed to find that hot last time. Or smother him in your chest.
No. 1023183 ID: 629f2e

A, Undo the top three buttons on your corset, and start choking out Niccolo while demanding he snap to attention and bind this goat up with his brush. It's a triple threat of things he likes: Attractive bodies, asphyxiation, and using his brush on people.
No. 1023185 ID: 629f2e

Quick addendum, maybe call out to Naomi to blast any bandits near the cart. Elaine has Brutus under control, but she doesn't know how the cart is. She presumes it's bad though, since these guys are bandits after all.
No. 1023186 ID: 19ea25

A: And going with this option. He did almost seemed to like the domination before from one of his comments when he was chastised by Elaine.
No. 1023187 ID: 96c896

A. Give Niccolo some discipline.
No. 1023191 ID: 34dfce

B, but dont pin and just keep them in a chokehold till they pass out.
No. 1023209 ID: 8483cf

A. Elaine should undo the corset as best she can and aggressively smother Niccolo in cleavage and chest fluff.

Also she should angrily tell Niccolo that he does NOT have permission to jerk off until she says he can.
No. 1023219 ID: 12b116

A. Aggressively choke the goat out while you lick your lips and tell Niccolo he's next as long as he's a good boy.
No. 1023237 ID: eedbeb
File 164469610334.png - (276.75KB , 1000x1000 , p44.png )

Elaine remembers Niccolo’s reaction when she told him off in the gnome woods and decides on her strategy. She keeps Bruto in a headlock with one arm as she sits up and unclasps the front of her corset with the other, so her ample breasts and chest fluff can spill out. Niccolo’s eyes pop wide with appreciation.

“I’ll smother you with these if you’re a good boy.“ Elaine says in her best approximation of a dangerous purr. “And, uh, you’re not allowed to touch yourself until I say so.”

Bruto turns awkwardly, neck still trapped in Elaine’s arm and shakes his firm behind at Niccolo. “Check this out. You could bounce a coin off these sweet cheeks and I just love being spanked.”

Niccolo nods in approval like a wine connoisseur tasting a quaint vintage. Everyone looks over in temporary distraction as a trio of magic missiles crash into the masked bandit, who gets tossed around by the blasts, but seems unharmed. Naomi cackles with glee and lays down more suppressing fire.

Elaine clears her throat. “If you listen to me, you can have the best of both worlds. Tie up this naughty goat and you’ll get a special reward.”

The pink glow finally fades from Niccolo’s eyes, and he takes out his brush. “Yes ma’am.”

She holds Bruto still while Niccolo wraps him in shiny bands of black, until the goat is tightly bound and she can lower him to the ground.
No. 1023238 ID: eedbeb
File 164469612277.png - (223.31KB , 1000x1000 , p45.png )

Something slides against Elaine’s hoof and she gasps. Five meters of thick green snake is sluggishly winding through the grass to curl up next to Bruto. There’s a nasty red gash on the creature’s side, but even as Elaine watches, new skin and scales creep across the wound.

“I didn’t think she’d be ssso upssset.” the snake complains, ignoring Niccolo and Elaine who are frozen in instinctual terror.

“You don’t have the best track record Luce. What’d you tell her anyway?” Bruto yawns, flesh straining against his flat restraints.

“Can I jerk off please?” Niccolo asks Elaine in a small voice.

“Well I sssaw she wasss with the Church, and you know I have some hissstory there, ssso I told her the current Goddess is a fraud and all these nudity rules are about controlling the populace which is antithetical to the Church’s original purpose of civil ssservice.” Luce sighs.

“Yeah, maybe that was a little much.” Bruto tests the bindings again. “Mind letting me out of here?”

Elaine: Uncharmed Niccolo with sexy threats of violence
Bruto: Tried to seduce Niccolo
Niccolo: Tied up Bruto with brush
Luce the Snake: Self-healed while talking to Bruto
Naomi: Shot at Mask, damaging cart
Mask: Took shelter in cart, broke through one of three box bindings.

Elaine choices (she can also direct Niccolo now, so suggest for him):
A. Talk to Luce
B. Attack Luce
C. Go to the cart to stop Mask
No. 1023241 ID: 8483cf

Elaine: B. Luce is probably gonna try to free Bruto and we do NOT need him back in action.

Niccolo: C. I'm not sure how effective bindings are gonna be on a snake, so let's leave Elaine to handle it herself.
No. 1023242 ID: c92a02

C. Tell Niccolo to tie that snake into a pretzel.
No. 1023244 ID: 629f2e

Elaine - A, The snake can self-heal, and can retaliate with poison bites. He seems weak-willed though, so let's try to charm him ourselves. Gently rub his back and console him, while convincing him to just stay put and rest so that the hyper powerful astral fox with you doesn't have to obliterate him to smithereens from which he cannot recover. Make it sound less like a threat, and more like you're concerned for his well-being.

Niccolo - C, Whisper to him to restrain the masked man in the cart, letting him know that once the battle is resolved, then you just might let him jerk off.
No. 1023254 ID: c57dc9

nicolo on the cart man. C
Elaine grab snake by the back of the head so that it can't bite anyone if its a constrictor you can get help later but the importnat thing is to disable thier head. B
No. 1023284 ID: 2b3343

C. Follow the mission, protect the box. Niccolo can keep these two restrained.
No. 1023303 ID: 8a51ec

C. Tell Niccolo he can have as much fun as he wants tying up these two.
No. 1023304 ID: e51896

C, we were told box was priority
No. 1023332 ID: 19ea25

Elaine: C: We need to get some assistance to the cart before it's blown right up.

Niccolo: B: In order to keep him from getting distracted and wandering away. We have to keep up our sexy dommy denial. The snakes healing means the brushes ability to bind is a lot better at dealing then our limited damage.
No. 1023349 ID: eedbeb
File 164477403140.png - (336.38KB , 1000x1000 , p46.png )

>Niccolo: B
“Tie up the snake. We don’t want him undoing our hard work. Once everyone’s secure I might give you permission to come.” Elaine orders.

Niccolo nods and hesitantly approaches Luce. The beast doesn’t move, and Niccolo starts lashing his coils together. Elaine isn’t sure how well ropes can hold a snake, but the poor thing seems mentally defeated and doesn’t resist.

>Elaine: C
Elaine sheds her torn robe and runs to the cart. She winces when she sees the damage, Naomi’s attacks have broken some of the wheel spokes and burned the protective tarp, revealing the polished wood box.

Mask scrabbles at the paint bindings around the lid and screams at Elaine when she approaches. The bandit has crushed their food rations with their dirty feet. They can’t reach for their club fast enough before Elaine seizes them.

Unlike the mostly demure Bruto, Mask struggles fiercely and grabs hold of the base of Elaine’s tail. Elaine can’t dislodge their hands fast enough before they pull the cloth knots free.
No. 1023350 ID: eedbeb
File 164477405102.png - (288.60KB , 1000x1000 , p47.png )

Elaine: Grabbed Mask
Niccolo: Tied Luce, sort of
Luce: Allowed himself to be tied, then talked to Niccolo
Naomi: Stopped firing and approached cart
Mask: Undid Elaine’s loincloth

“Are you okay?” the fox asks.

“I’m fine.” Elaine puffs. She gets a good grip over the bandit’s arms and pins them in place.

Naomi is perfectly eye level with Elaine’s bare hips, and the fox feigns professional disinterest but keeps snatching glances at the bovine. With the bony bandit writhing in her grasp, Elaine can’t refasten her underwear and flushes with embarrassment.

Elaine choices:
A. Get Niccolo to tie up Mask (all bandits will be bound)
B. Search Mask for an amulet
C. Check on Ginerva
No. 1023353 ID: c92a02

No. 1023354 ID: 629f2e

A and C. Tell Niccolo to bind Mask up and finish the job, while you go check on Ginerva. She was poisoned, you need to make sure she's alright. You can always check Mask for an amulet AFTER he's bound up.
No. 1023355 ID: e51896

No. 1023356 ID: 8483cf

A. We have to be safe from future harm before we try and help Ginerva.
No. 1023357 ID: 9b127b

No. 1023358 ID: afe7de

A and then C will just naturally follow after. You can loot the bodies after you make sure your charges (and wares) are safe
No. 1023363 ID: 8a51ec

A + C. Ginerva is in need of medical attention, we should wrap this up quickly.
No. 1023402 ID: eedbeb
File 164479683612.png - (254.20KB , 1000x1000 , p48.png )

Elaine wants this situation to be resolved quickly so she can retrieve her clothes and check on Ginerva. It’s mortifying to only have a corset on. She drags Mask back toward Niccolo, Naomi following behind.

The deacon has arranged himself on a stump, with one shoe resting on Bruto’s back while the goat trembles on his forearms and knees. Luce is coiled in a circle like a thick length of rope and all three seem to be deep in conversation.

“Hello ma’am, these bandits aren’t too bad, what do you think about letting them go?” Niccolo says brightly.

“Goddess, no! What are you thinking?” Elaine splutters.

Niccolo turns back to Luce and Bruto with a shrug. “Sorry, the lady said no.”

“Darn.” Bruto deadpans. “Hey Fiore, did they have anything good?”

“Fancy box. Couldn’t get inside.” Fiore grunts. Niccolo ties their wrists and ankles together and they sit sulkily on the ground.
No. 1023403 ID: eedbeb
File 164479684556.png - (207.83KB , 1000x1000 , p49.png )

>Bandits Captured
Combat with the bandits has stopped, but can start again if they attempt to escape. Since they all still have their protection spells, Elaine cannot effectively threaten them. The bandits can’t leave the campsite while they’re restrained.

Elaine retrieves her robe and loincloth, but stops dressing at the sight of Niccolo’s puppy dog eyes. Right, she still owes him a breast smothering.

“I did well, right?” he simpers.

“Yes, you were a very good boy.” Elaine sighs. Ginerva will have to wait a few more minutes, though a quick glance around the cart shows the badger is breathing fine and doesn’t seem to be bleeding.

Naomi bites her lip and inches closer to get a front row view of the show. Elaine feels this whole situation is doing terrible things to the fox’s mind.

While Elaine rewards Niccolo, what should she talk about with the assembled group? She can also address individuals though the peanut gallery will interject.
No. 1023404 ID: e51896

"Please don't tell anyone I wear this corset... I'm supposed to be taking a vow of poverty, but I needed something durable.
No. 1023406 ID: 96c896

Chide Luce (Lucifer?) for doing this without full protection. What if he got hit in the head with a bullet or something? You can't regenerate from that.
No. 1023409 ID: 19ea25

Question why they decided to assault the cart in the first place. It seems like they specifically came to loot this one in particular.
No. 1023410 ID: 629f2e

I think we should ask about the amulets Bruto (and possibly Mask man) are wearing. How did they get them?
No. 1023413 ID: c92a02

Ginerva's asleep and Niccolo's face will be busy, but... You could ask Naomi to collect these amulets from them. All they have to do to get new ones is turn themselves in to the local church!
No. 1023480 ID: eedbeb
File 164488206069.png - (162.71KB , 1000x1000 , p50.png )

Niccolo stands so Elaine can take his seat on the stump, then straddles her hips while supporting part of his weight with his feet. It’s strangely reassuring to have someone more experienced to move things along.

Elaine undoes her corset and takes hold of Niccolo’s curly mop to press him into her cleavage. His scruff is a little scratchy and the human relaxes into the hold.

“Where did you guys get those censorship armor amulets? Don’t you need to pray to the Goddess to use them?” Elaine asks.

Bruto rolls awkwardly into a sitting position to answer. “They hand them out at churches all the time. It’s easy enough to learn the prayers but our crew has extra special talent to help jailbreak the spell.”

“Oh ssstop.” Luce says.

“Are you, er, a magic snake?” Elaine asks. She’s not sure if that’s a rude question.

Naomi replies first. “He’s a spirit, I can tell. I could take him though, he’s old and tired.”
No. 1023481 ID: eedbeb
File 164488207099.png - (148.30KB , 1000x1000 , p51.png )

“I sensssed a powerful magic artifact here and thought there’d be something valuable to sssteal.” Luce explains.

Elaine considers taking the amulets from the bandits, but then someone could really get hurt and she doesn’t want that on her conscience.

“They’re living the life.” Niccolo says, muffled but audible. “Out here they don’t have to obey nudity laws and once they get enough loot they can retire somewhere in a city.”

He sighs dramatically, warm air tickling Elaine’s fur.

“Are you a Wayfinder?” Luce asks.

“Yes I am, still just an initiate though. The monks took me in after my parents were killed during a long journey despite their best efforts.” Elaine says.

The snake perks up. “Did you know the Wayfinders often take in orphanss as new recruits? Given the low number of volunteers, one can asssume that they occasionally allow their clientsss to die–”

“Luce.” the masked bandit interrupts. “Shut up.”

“I’m sssorry, I’m sssorry, I always put my tail in my mouth when I meet new people.” Luce buries his face in his coils.
No. 1023482 ID: eedbeb
File 164488208684.png - (221.10KB , 1000x1000 , p52.png )

Elaine laughs at the absurdity of the situation, partially to cover the sting of the snake’s words. Samantha gives an irritated groan and covers her head with her pillow to block out the noise. Out of courtesy, everyone quiets down, still whispering to each other.

It’s in this brief moment of peace that an ominous growl ripples through air. Elaine turns her head to see Ginerva limp around the cart. The badger is completely naked but doesn’t seem to care. Niccolo immediately pushes himself away from Elaine and smoothes his clothes with nervous hands.

“What are you doing?” Ginerva snarls.

“We caught the bandits, we were just interrogating them, uh, for their secrets.” Niccolo stutters.

“Consorting with the devil.” Ginerva is frothing slightly at the mouth, and her eyes are wild. Between Luce’s venom and his words, Ginerva seems to have been driven to a fit of rage, and Elaine feels a shiver of fear up her spine.

The badger stalks toward Elaine and glares down at the pink corset like it personally insulted the Goddess. Elaine covers her chest and starts hastily doing up the clasps. For a second she’s afraid Ginerva will strike her.

Instead, the badger turns to the bandits, who tense and bunch together. Elaine sees Luce worm out of his bindings in preparation to escape.

How does Elaine deal with Ginerva?
A. Talk in an attempt to calm her (suggest what to say)
B. Attack and restrain her until the bandits leave
C. Demand the truth about the Church
D. Do nothing
No. 1023483 ID: 96c896

>Consorting with the devil
Yeah, that's Lucifer.

A. Tell her to put some clothes on. Then while she's distracted doing that ask what the usual punishment is for banditry.
No. 1023484 ID: c57dc9

No. 1023485 ID: 0838d6

Get dressed, do D, nothing, she kind of has the right to be mad after getting snek poisoned. Plus letting her vent on them will be good for not letting her vent on *you* you kept the package safe, and captured the bandits, which was your job.

(also wear clothes so you don't get fluffed up)
No. 1023486 ID: d04e91

Punch the bandits first before she does. She will like it.
No. 1023487 ID: 629f2e

A, We need to get her thinking again before she does something rash.

Tell her that she's in no state to act in the name of the Church if she isn't going to set the example, and instruct her to put her spare clothes on.

That should give her enough time to slow down and reconsider what she's doing. As much fun as it would be to set her on the bandits, she got hit by Luce's venom. She really ought to rest.

Hopefully her anger won't totally overpower reason, else we may have to step in and restrain her.

Side note: Any chance our robe is salvageable? If not, really hope you brought spares- you totally didn't, vow of poverty, shit. Welp, if your robe won't suffice, then you've done more than enough for Niccolo at this point to earn borrowing whatever spare vestments he's brought.
No. 1023498 ID: 8a51ec

A. Tell Ginerva that you'd gladly join her in teaching the bandits (Luce) a lesson, but she needs to get cured of poison as soon as possible. And clothed, less importantly.
No. 1023503 ID: 19ea25

A: Remind her of your conversation earlier about the church and excessive punishment and how she isn't truly a fan of it. Much preferring the ways of her earlier time of church. That she should get her clothes and something to help with the poison in her system.
No. 1023537 ID: eedbeb
File 164497297418.png - (256.16KB , 1000x1000 , p53.png )

>A, talk to Ginerva

Elaine hurriedly pulls on her robe and gets to her feet. "Ginerva, please you need to rest, you've been poisoned and we have everything under control with the bandits. The relic is secure and the Church wouldn't want anyone else to get hurt."

The badger staggers to stop, breathing heavily. "I saw you just now, pleasuring my deacon and laughing with these criminals. Hold your damn tongue about the Church's will."

The moment of distraction is all the bandits need. Luce unravels with surprising speed, paint flaking off his scales as some kind of countermagic melts the restraints. Ginerva tackles him and they go down in a flurry of claws and fangs. The other bandits wiggle into motion. Fiore reveals Bruto's pipe on the ground from under their feet, snagged during the conversation or
while they were carried to the stump, and awkwardly shoves it between the goat's teeth. Pink smoke flares out from his mouth, obscuring the two from view.

The badger is moving sluggishly, but still has power behind her blows. This time Luce isn't messing around, and quickly wraps Ginerva in his coils. He squeezes, and the badger’s eyes bug out as the force strains against her armor spell.
No. 1023538 ID: eedbeb
File 164497298285.png - (231.12KB , 1000x1000 , p54.png )

Elaine doesn't want Ginerva to be hurt more, and tries to insert herself between the hard muscle of the snake and the bishop. She can't make Luce budge, and Ginerva's breathing becomes more strained.

“I’m gonna shoot you if you don’t stop, snake! I’ll do it!” Naomi shrieks. The fox sounds more scared than fierce at the sight of the frantic brawl, but raises her hands anyway in preparation to fire.

Magic missiles flare to life and hone in on Luce. The spirit yelps in alarm as the powerful spells smash against his form, and he flings Ginerva aside so he can slither into the pink smog. Elaine hears the thud of footsteps on hard earth as Fiore and Bruto are freed and run away.

The bandits have been defeated, but also escaped unscathed. The relic is safe and Ginerva is injured.

The bishop shakily gets to her feet. When Elaine tries to offer a hand, Ginerva shoves her to the ground. The initiate lands hard on the gun in her pocket and it goes off with a deafening bang. Elaine's robe scatters in a cloud of cloth scraps as her armor spell redirects the momentum of the bullet into a harmless outward force.

Stunned, Elaine stays on the ground as Ginerva turns toward the cart and limps away. Niccolo spares a brief glance down and then nervously follows the badger. There's the beginning of a sob stuck in Elaine's throat and she's terribly exhausted.

Naomi crouches down by Elaine’s side. The fox is breathing hard, her eyes wide and full of uncertainty, like she doesn't know what to say.
No. 1023539 ID: c92a02

Seems like working with the church is more trouble than it's worth. So Naomi, what is your party up to?
Keep the gun, it could at least be worth something if you don't learn how to use it.
No. 1023540 ID: 19ea25

Regardless of things.. We still have our duty afterall. We have to defend the cart, and well. It is something we need to do.
No. 1023543 ID: 629f2e

Don't feel bad Elaine, you did your job and ensured that the artifact was safe. Every choice you made in that fight, including the boob smother that pissed Ginerva off, was totally reasonable under the circumstances.

It's okay to be upset though. Don't try to deny your emotions, that's just not healthy. Stinks that the bandit's got away, and Ginerva was being a stupid unfair bitch, but just remember how sweet it's going to feel when she eventually has to apologize for being unreasonable. And ruining your robe, stripping people is kind of a big no-no for Censors I would imagine.

Speaking of which, you really need to get dressed. Since Naomi is the closest and seems concerned about you, why don't you ask to borrow something to cover your hips at least. You should also retrieve the underwear that mask dude untied, should still be wearable! Naomi is pretty short, but maybe Samantha has some spare clothes you can fit into. (She does kind of owe you for letting her sleep through things.)
No. 1023544 ID: a2493c

You know what? We're not working with the church again after this. Of the two ranking members we know, one is a pervert openly abusive of their station, and the other is a unreasonable mule of a woman that refuses to act on what she views as injustices unless they are beneath her.

For now we keep quiet, but we remember this. We remember what we witnessed here and how we were treated for doing the job we were assigned.
No. 1023551 ID: 8483cf

You know what? This job sucks. Everything about this situation sucks. The only thing we have to feel happy about is that everyone's still alive and the relic is OK, but apart from that, everything sucks.
No. 1023557 ID: 790ada

It's okay to cry.

You may tell Naomi to let the public know what she witnessed the church did to you here today, that should start getting some bad rumors about the censors started, and maybe one day it'll snowball into something bigger and they'll get what they deserve

We'll have to keep going on this mission though, it's still a job. But refuse to say anything to Ginerva for the rest of the trip. Niccola maybe, but you dont even want to look at her.

Tell Naomi after this is done, you want to spend an entire day to relax in a soothing lake. Maybe you'll Learn about Saiorse's secret swimming spot from Naomi. You deserve it.
No. 1023587 ID: 12b116

You know what? You got to see Ginerva's fat titties and that's what's important.
No. 1023639 ID: eedbeb
File 164505805739.png - (185.08KB , 1000x1000 , p55.png )

Elaine could almost fall asleep here, on the warm, hard ground. Instead she gets to her knees and motions for Naomi to come closer. She protected the cart and her companions, but she still feels like she failed.

"Do you or Samantha have any spare clothes?" Elaine whispers.

"Um, yes, I have my old dress you can wear as a shirt and Sammy has a skirt that might work with a belt." Naomi scuttles to her pack and rifles through it while Elaine ties her loincloth back in place. Hot tears drip off her face and hit her hands as she cries in silence. Ginerva wasn't in her right mind, but the badger’s actions tonight were still hurtful.

Elaine commits Luce's words about the Church and the Goddess to memory. Outside of the Censors, she was the only one who heard.
No. 1023640 ID: eedbeb
File 164505806782.png - (224.92KB , 1000x1000 , p56.png )

Naomi returns with the clothes, which fit better than expected on Elaine's slim figure.

After the fox leaves to her straw mat at Samantha's side, Elaine takes a deep breath, lies down, and drifts to sleep. Maybe she won't feel so bad in the morning.

The party is scheduled to arrive in Tavarone tomorrow afternoon. There will not be any further danger or interruption. Elaine has four updates’ worth of time to resolve her questions and problems with the Censors before she's released from her duties.

What should she do first?
A. Talk to Niccolo
B. Talk to Ginerva
C. Talk to Naomi and/or Samantha
No. 1023642 ID: c92a02

A. maybe you can use your position in the church to actually change it to be a bit less uptight?
No. 1023657 ID: a2493c

Niccolo is definitely the lesser bastard from what we've seen, but I don't think he'd be the one to kickstart anything and he's of limited use due to his open vices.

I'm torn between A and C, but mostly leaning towards c.
No. 1023658 ID: 8a51ec

C. Probably a good idea to give it some time before talking to Tweedledee and Tweedledum again.
No. 1023663 ID: 676f44

C. Need some time to decompress.
No. 1023665 ID: 629f2e

C, Elaine deserves a break before she gets thrown right back into the fire of Censor babysitting
No. 1023672 ID: 7b94e1

C. Get some time to relax, and ask their opinion on how to approach things going forward
No. 1023707 ID: 19da02

C. Naoimi is cute.
No. 1023767 ID: eedbeb
File 164515577008.png - (200.14KB , 1000x1000 , p57.png )

The next morning brings bright, clear skies and a fresh breeze. It's a beautiful day, but Elaine's heart is heavy. She's a little sore, though she slept well outside of being awoken for her watch shift, and she's not quite ready to face the Censors.

She's grateful when Naomi and Samantha linger at the campsite until the cart is hitched to the donkey so they return to the road at the same time as Elaine. Having outside company gives her an excuse not to talk to her clients, and Elaine joins Naomi and Samantha a good distance in front of the cart.

"What brings you two adventurers from Busalla?" Elaine asks.

Naomi pulls out a map similar to Niccolo's, with large stars scribbled on it to mark points of interest. "We have a whole trip planned out. This morning we're going to see the Supreme Butter Cow in all its glory."

"Oh, that sounds very nice, is there some kind of trouble with the cow you're going to solve? Is there a thief in the area stealing butter and you have to stop them?"

Naomi squints at Elaine like she isn't sure what the initiate is trying to say. "We're just looking at the cow. It's big. It's made of butter."

"How charming! So you're just sightseeing and not–"

Elaine's words are abruptly cut off by a death glare from Samantha who adeptly mimes gutting the air and pulling out its entrails. Elaine gapes at her. Despite the human's full night of sleep, she still has the wild look in her eyes of a woman who has nothing to lose.
No. 1023769 ID: eedbeb
File 164515603059.png - (262.55KB , 1000x1000 , p58.png )

"Our quest is to observe the magical spells keeping the butter cow fresh and intact." Samantha grits out.

"Right, my apologies." Elaine laughs nervously. "That's very exciting, good for you."

The early morning passes with much more relaxed chatter. Naomi tells wondrous stories of magic and mischief growing up in Minga, while Samantha talks nostalgically about her childhood when she lived further south.

Naomi quite literally explodes when they see the first sign advertising the cow, only a few kilometers away. The fox tugs on Samantha's arm with excitement and scurries back and forth across the road, working herself into a panting frenzy.

Finally, from around a bend, a shining statue of grease comes into view. It's about twice the height of a normal dairy cow, about level with Elaine. An old couple is sitting at the base of the statue, with a hat out for donations.

"Wow!" Naomi looks at the cow for a solid five seconds before turning back to the road. "Okay, I saw it. Let's keep going."

Elaine glances behind to check that the Censors are still close by, and notices Niccolo beckoning to her. What should Elaine do next?

A. Talk to Niccolo
B. Ignore him and keep talking to Naomi and Samantha
No. 1023770 ID: 629f2e

Alright, let's talk to Niccolo. If he tries anything creepy though, do not hesitate to shut him down. You aren't in the mood.

He'll probably be creepy even if that isn't his intention though, so you'll probably have to tolerate some degree of it.
No. 1023771 ID: 96c896

No. 1023772 ID: 0f05cb

Any parting words? maybe Naomi can let us know about The Secret swimming spot. Elaine deserves it.

But yeah, A
No. 1023776 ID: 19ea25

A: The butter cow has been observed. Might as well see what Niccolo has to say.
No. 1023777 ID: c92a02

A. You are NOT jealous of the butter cow.
No. 1023786 ID: 8a51ec

A. Be prepared to dip on the conversation if he demonstrates an astounding lack of awareness.
No. 1023833 ID: 094652

No. 1023859 ID: eedbeb
File 164523397342.png - (233.54KB , 1000x1000 , p59.png )

“Sorry, I should see what he wants.” Elaine tells Naomi and Samantha. “It was really nice talking to you both, I hope I can see you again soon.”

“We’re still walking to Tavarone together, don’t act like this is goodbye.” Samantha points out.

“Yeah! If those Censors give you more trouble, I'll yell at them and you can come hang with us.” Naomi says.

Elaine thanks them and takes the long way around the cart to where Niccolo is walking in the back.

“What?” she asks brusquely.

Niccolo looks taken aback at her tone. “Are you alright?”

“After last night? Of course not!” Elaine lets some of her frustration show in her voice. “Ginerva hates me and ruined my robe and you were being an annoying perv like always instead of taking things seriously.”

“Sorry, I know you’re not into that stuff, I just thought–sorry.” Niccolo says.
No. 1023860 ID: eedbeb
File 164523398383.png - (214.66KB , 1000x1000 , p60.png )

Tears blur Elaine’s vision. “What do you want? I’m not here to entertain you if you’re bored.”

“I kind of wanted to check on you and say thanks, if you hadn’t stopped Bruto I’d probably be a bandit right now.” Niccolo admits.

“I was doing my duty as a Wayfinder, that’s all.”

“Yeah, um, speaking of that, thanks for protecting the relic.” Niccolo lowers his voice. “It’s an extremely valuable purification artifact, we’re going to cleanse several towns’ wells that were poisoned so the residents can have safe water again.”

Elaine glares at him. “Why are you telling me this?”

“I just wanted to show the Church isn’t all arrests and rules. I know you don’t have a high opinion of us but we do a lot of good stuff too. I don’t know if what Luce said about the Goddess was true, and honestly it doesn’t matter to me either way, but the Church still cares about civil service.”
No. 1023865 ID: 96c896

Luce was obviously a spirit of deception and strife, despite supposedly trying to change his ways. What he said could easily be interpreted as subjective opinion, despite the implication that it's truth.
What did he mean by "current" Goddess though? Was there a different one before?
No. 1023866 ID: 629f2e

Y'know, Niccolo is a lot more reasonable that he really seems. Granted, he was in fact almost more of a hindrance than help in that last encounter, but that was while he was under the effects of some kind of charm spell, almost tailored to hit him the hardest. Now that it's out of his system, he actually has the decency to properly thank you without even a hint of creepy perversion.

I think the more telling point though is that he's actually standing up for the Church. He really doesn't come off like the kind of guy who respects its teachings, but maybe there's a reason he stays beyond a fancy brush or his parents pushing him into it.

We've seen some of the worst of the Church on this journey, but I think we should keep in mind that there are a lot of reasons they're looked up to beyond just armor spells. That doesn't dispel the bad parts, but it's only fair to acknowledge the good alongside it.

As for Niccolo, while you're still not totally over last night, you should thank him. He made you feel a little better than you did before.

If he uses your improving mood as an opening to be creepy though, do not hesitate to trip him and walk away.
No. 1023874 ID: 0838d6

Seconding this because if he doubles back and ruins the mood he had it coming
No. 1023877 ID: 19ea25

I mean why would we believe a bunch of bandits who were out raiding and stealing from people in the first place on the first dialogue exactly? We saw that they stole from and broke down someone else's cart beforehand so they're screwing others livelihoods for their own gain, old spirit or not. Yes we had some issue going on with our group, but we aren't exactly joyriding here.
No. 1023880 ID: 094652

Immediately ask if you can be given a demonstration. You want to be sure that this is a purification artifact and not... something worse.
No. 1023889 ID: c92a02

I think it's best to act so that what Luce said remains untrue. It's good to know our mission has a practical purpose.
In the event of dire circumstances, should we focus on the relic over you and Gi- well, obviously Ginerva, but you?
No. 1023902 ID: e51896

You're still a bit upset, buy you can at least forgive Niccola.
No. 1023905 ID: a2493c

yeah we ain't got beef with nic, he seems to know things are screwy and this approach is appreciated.
No. 1023976 ID: 12eb7b

Thanks Niccolo, he is being nice and looks sorry for the "reward for getting out of mind control" thing.

Elain might be still upset, but leting know that this mission is for something good is also a nice gesture.
No. 1023990 ID: eedbeb
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Niccolo is actually speaking sense, without even a hint of his usual sleaze. At least the deacon seems honest about the Church and where he stands. Elaine dries her eyes and sighs. Time to give him one more chance.

“Thanks for helping tie up the bandits.” she mutters.

“You did most of the hard work.”

They walk in amicable silence. Elaine keeps an eye out for danger, but now that they’re approaching civilization, the road is smoother and there are enough other travelers that there isn’t a sign of magical creatures or bandits.

“If you’re feeling up to it, I’d like to ask you for a favor.” Niccolo says carefully. “Not for me! Ginerva’s been really quiet, she’s walking fine so I think she’s okay physically but maybe Luce has weird magic venom and it’s having other effects. What he said is probably also bothering her. She won’t talk to me about it, but she might talk to you.”

Final Choice:
A. Help Ginerva with her crisis (restore Ginerva’s faith, return to business as usual)
B. Naw (Ginerva will realize the falsehoods of the Church, which will have mixed consequences)
No. 1023992 ID: e51896

A. But only if Niccolo comes with you nearby for your support as she still might be irrationally angry at us.

Best to tell her that if the church is corrupt and doing those bad things, Ginerva should do something to make a change to stop the church from killing clients, change it from the inside to make it better with Niccolo's help and set a better example for others. It'll take awhile, but you know she is tough enough to do it.

She can start by apologizing to you.
No. 1023994 ID: c92a02

A. Talk it out, don't leave her to figure it out on her own.
No. 1023995 ID: 094652

B. You've seen what faith has twisted her into. Still, make sure she isn't brainwashed into following blindly into the nudist bandits.
No. 1023996 ID: 0838d6

Here's the thing, Ginerva's not *bad* yeah she's a bit extreme, but not *evil* and she's feeling remorse for what she did. Getting her to swear off the church will likely have pretty bad consequences.

A because they're at least trying, and maybe talk about doing things in a less radical way sometimes, practicing some moderation in the extremeness of her attitude. It's a fools errand for sure, but I don't think you would want to upset the balance so heavily when someone even more depraved then these two could just as easily take their place. The enemy you know is better than an unknown foe.
No. 1024003 ID: 629f2e

A, Ginerva messed up last night, but it's clear that she's in a tumultuous place right now. Luce's words and venom must have really gotten into her head, because that wasn't how she was before.

You've made it clear to her already that you have problems with the Church, but the biggest issues aren't impossible to fix. It's not something that goes straight to the top like a fraudulent goddess or the nudity laws themselves, it's basic Compassion. Almost every single time you've seen somebody upset with the Church on this trip, it's been because they were getting punished for just trying to live their lives.

Like the sheep woman at journey's start who bought a permit to go out in her wool. She bought the permit! She genuinely believed she was living by the rules set by the church, and Ginerva was going to fine or arrest her! If anyone should have gotten in trouble, shouldn't it have been whoever was selling such a document? And if the permit was allowed, and someone in your religion had granted this permission, couldn't you have approved her permit for the district? If literally nothing else, if she needed to be dressed at that very moment and you had nothing to offer, could you not have escorted her to a tailor?

How about the adventurers stripped during the gnome attack? They barely had a chance to catch their breath before Niccolo hit them with a one minute warning 'til arrest. He didn't even ask if they had spares to change into, the mandate was "Be dressed or you will go to jail". If the Church cares so much about people being clothed, then wouldn't it be easier to just bring extra garments to give to indecent adventurers than it would be to make arrests out in the woods and have to drag them along for the rest of the journey? If Niccolo had offered them clothes and they refused, this wouldn't even be an example. The adventurers would be in the wrong, and the threat of arrest would have been deserved. They didn't leave angry because they were forced to wear clothes, but because she and Niccolo would have punished them for something outside of their control. And before the argument gets made that they should have had spares, would the Church have acted differently had their bags been lost in the skirmish.

Maybe there is something to what Luce was talking about, maybe not. But even if the Goddess is legit and the nudity laws a necessity, it doesn't matter. People are still going to hate the Church for punishing every offense without a shred of mercy. If she saved punishments like those for the real criminals, like the bandits from yesterday who were willfully breaking the rules and hurting innocent people, then the Church's reputation would be a lot better than it is now.

This is something Ginerva herself can change. Not for every priest ever of course, but at least for herself. She can be the better example.



Also, please ask why she has red gropey hands on her boobs, please, we're running out of opportunities to bring it up.
No. 1024059 ID: a2493c

I want the action of A with the consequences of B. booooo.
No. 1024129 ID: eedbeb
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A bitter, hurt part of Elaine wants the badger to suffer alone. Honestly, it might be in Elaine’s interests for the bishop to lose faith in the Goddess if Ginerva decides to reject the Church’s stricter teachings.

It’s not in her nature to ignore suffering though, and Elaine raises her eyes to the badger’s broad back. “Fine, but I want you to step in if she gets mad at me.”

“Of course, thank you so much–”

Elaine lengthens her stride, leaving Niccolo in the dust. Up close, Ginerva indeed looks miserable. The badger doesn’t even acknowledge Elaine except for a short glance.

“Good afternoon.” Elaine begins. “I hope you’re not taking Luce’s words about the Goddess seriously, he was trying to rob us and I bet his powers have something to do with causing strife.”

The blunt words take a moment take a moment to penetrate Ginerva’s funk. She blinks and falters, and Elaine has to backpedal slightly.

“He was a bandit.” Ginerva says slowly, as if just realizing this fact.

“Right,” Elaine says patiently, “He even said something to me about the Wayfinders that was blatantly untrue.”
No. 1024130 ID: eedbeb
File 164539468681.png - (133.34KB , 1000x1000 , p63.png )

The shadow over Ginerva’s brow eases a fraction. “I–I’m still bothered by what the snake said about our nudity laws. There have been more complaints about them recently, despite the safety improvements brought by our armor spells I fear the Church is becoming unpopular.”

This is it, this is Elaine’s big opportunity to gently push reform. Careful now, don’t want to scare the big bad badger bishop away.

“The Church has done great things for the community.” Elaine says slowly. “Maybe deacons should try to enforce the laws with more compassion. From what I’ve seen on this trip, from the sheep to those three adventurers in the forest, it seems like people are trying to comply, but sometimes outside forces or misunderstandings get in the way.”

Ginerva seems like she’s listening, so Elaine continues.

“Church officials already carry spare clothes for themselves, but perhaps it would earn them goodwill if they had simple garments for the devoted.”

The badger exhales loudly through her nose and Elaine tenses instinctively. The bishop puts a clawed hand on Elaine’s elbow. “You speak wisdom beyond your age, initiate.”

Elaine really felt like it was common sense, but holds her tongue. “A simple Wayfinder’s opinion.”

“I will recommend your idea once I return to Busalla.” Ginerva pauses. “I do appreciate it.”
No. 1024131 ID: eedbeb
File 164539469782.png - (282.17KB , 1000x1000 , p64.png )

After a late lunch of biscuit crumbs thanks to Fiore’s stomping the previous night, Elaine walks alongside the cart with Ginerva and Niccolo until the barns turn to houses and pastures shrink into quaint personal gardens.

Tavarone is a bustling town, slightly larger than Busalla. Elaine spots a monk in traditional garb and asks directions to the local monastery where she’ll stay for the night before finding a job back to Busalla. He gives her new clothes a skeptical look, but seems to understand that she lost her robe without having to ask.

Naomi and Samantha split from the group to head downtown, waving goodbye to Elaine. Before the fox goes, she tugs on Elaine’s sleeve and whispers in her ear about Saoirse’s secret swimming spot.

Ginerva takes the donkey and cart to a gleaming white chapel, before unhitching the tired animal and and leaning against the cool stone wall.

“You did a wonderful job, Elaine.” the badger says, eyes closed. “I’ll be sure to send a message to the Wayfinders praising your ability.”

“See you around sometime. I’ll let you know if I need any more help with bandits.” Niccolo says.

Elaine gives a short bow. “It was my honor to help you on your journey.” she says formally.

A bright afternoon in a new town and the whispers of forbidden knowledge lingering in her mind. Elaine turns away from the Censors and heads for the monastery.
No. 1024132 ID: eedbeb
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Thanks for reading!
No. 1024158 ID: 19ea25

No. 1024185 ID: 12eb7b

Such a nice quest, I liked it!
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